Sunday

“Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’” (vv. 28-29a)

Matthew 14:22-33 Sunday 10 August 2014


Background

The story of Jesus walking on water is a very familiar one - andnot only for Christians. As Jesus' mind-bendingly crazy miraclesgo, it tends to be near the top of people's lists. In the Bible itcan be found in the Gospels of Matthew, John (John6:15-21) and Mark (Mark6:45-51), but only Matthew tells us about Peter's response tothis spectacle.

In their boat the disciples were being battered back and forthby the waves and wind. As far as they knew, Jesus was still on theshore. Although some of them were seasoned fishermen, they wereonly on the boat because Jesus had urged them to go on ahead (verse22) - and he was nowhere to be seen. It appeared that he hadabandoned them to the elements. I imagine they must have beenanxious, confused and frightened.

And then they see a man walking on the waves. More anxious? Moreconfused? More frightened?

But, more than the miracle itself, it's Peter's reaction that Ifind most intriguing. When we experience doubt and fear, it's oftenour natural reaction to want God to prove God's-self - to give us asign that God is who God claims to be. This is exactly what Satanchallenged Jesus to do during Jesus' trials in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). Often it seems to go somethinglike this:

God identifies God's own self.
We doubt.
We do nothing.

Or:

God identifies God's own self.
We doubt.
We call on God to act.

But Peter takes a different approach. Instead of asking Jesus toprove himself by coming to the boat, he asks to meet him on thewater. Peter is so invested in Jesus and his mission that he'swilling to step out of the boat - to risk his own skin to prove whoJesus is. Peter tested God by testing himself.

So maybe instead it could go like this:

God identifies God's own self.
We doubt.
We step out.


To Ponder

  • Have there been times when God has scared you? Whathappened?
  • How do you feel about testing God?
  • What if that also means testing yourself? 
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