Its that time of the early morning that is still counted as night. The general population rests easy in their beds, yet one group of men are afloat in the midst of the sea. Having grown up in and around the fisherman's trade, they were seasoned seamen. As the cool wind began to sweep across the waves, the need to reach the shore became more pressing; a storm was coming. It was not that long ago that they had seen Jesus command the wind and waves into submission, but he was nowhere to be found. Or so it seemed. The ship was tossed back and forth by the boisterous waves, and the wind was contrary. In our mind's eye we see Peter shouting instructions. "Every man to his station!" Until something caught his eye. "Peter, what are you....?" As every eye turned toward a mysterious figure approaching the boat. No, they had never seen anything like this before, and these disciples no older than the average high schooler, cried out in fear.
When Jesus identified himself, Peter called out, " Lord if it's you, bid me come to you on the water." And Jesus said, "Come." While his focus stayed on Jesus, he defied nature's law. But when his sight shifted, he was once again in need of rescuing. Jesus saved him, rebuked his limited faith, and when he was come into the ship, the wind ceased.
You probably have heard the story or even read the Matthew 14 account for yourself. As we review these passages, we discover truths that are identifiable within the character of each of us. This account of Peter shows us that even the greatest of storms are nothing more than water walking weather.
1. Fear: You Will Always See What You Search For.
The Bible lists two types of fear. That which we have in reverence and honor for the Lord, and fear that is folly to motivated action. Had the disciples feared God more than the unsettling image in front of them, they each might have stepped out on the water. But before they had the opportunity to identify God in their storm, they cried out afraid of what they did not truly recognize. You will always find what you are looking for. If you are searching for God, you will find Him. If you are searching for problems, you will always find them.
2. Christians Will Question What They Cannot Conceive.
It does not make sense that a man would be walking on the water. And even if he could, he wouldn't in this weather! So how do I know that this voice calling out claiming to be Jesus really is? What if it's all part of my imagination? Peter's response confirms his doubt yet commands faith as he makes a bold, daring request. "Lord if it's really you, then tell me to come out there!" Why was there even a question? Could anyone else have accomplished this great feat? But because of the perplexing nature of this encounter, rather than pursue, Peter would rather provoke. What if believers spent more time minding the commissions of Christ rather than questioning his credentials. "...IF it's you..."
3. Our Walk Should Always Center On The Word.
If I were Peter, I would have wanted an encouraging, maybe even coaxing speech. Yet Jesus simply said, "Come." Within that word, we find God's will for each of our lives. Not to labor in all of the specifics and minute details, but simply to walk toward the Lord. Alfred Tennison said it best, "Ours is not to question why. Ours is but to do or die." "Come." It wasn't an eloquent speech, nor did it explain how the feat would be accomplished...it didn't need to. Even one word from God is more stable on life's sea than a thousand fellow-ships filled with men.
4. Worry About The Waves Will Wreck A Walk On The Word.
If you find yourself sinking in a sea of doubt and sin, it is undoubtedly because you have allowed the waves about you to seem larger than the word that called you. So long as Peter's focus was fixed, no wave could have toppled him. But as his focus shifted to the storm, the sea all but swallowed him up. No wave of worry, pride, or even personality can sink a life that is fixated and faithful to the Word of God.
5. At Times We Must Forsake Fellow-Ship To Follow.
Jesus rescued Peter from drawing, and walked him back to the boat where stood awe-struck men. Before we mock Peter for near-drowning, we must not neglect 11 others who stood doubting. Better to be rescued walk stepping out in faith than stagnant in a boat with fellow stalemates. Many will never experience the greatness God has intended for them because they are worried about losing "fellowSHIP" with family, friends, even churches that refuse to support them. Friend, you may feel alone as you step over the side of that boat, but don't look back. If you fall, Jesus is standing right there to pick you up.
6. Fellow-Ship With The Lord Always Leads To Worship.
My great grandpa used to cleverly define "fellowship" as nothing more than two fellows in one ship. 11 men stood helpless in fellowship as Peter experienced faith like they never would. Peter knew he had to face his fear and develop a fellowship with the master rather than stay in the boat with his fellows. When Jesus and Peter were come into the ship, the wind ceased. The reason there is turmoil about your ship, is because Jesus is not part of the fellowship. Peter's faith allowed the others cause to worship. The storm in your life could be an opportunity to bring Jesus into the lives of others.