Jesus Walks On Water – Part 2
In this remarkable story from Matthew 14, Jesus walks on water. At the outset of the story, we see Jesus calming the storm that has sprung up on Lake Galilee. As Shane Johnson explains, both these miracles have relevance for our daily walk with God . To read part 1 of the story, click here.
Not only did Christ calm the storm but He also personally saved Peter when he began to sink in the water. This is the third type of salvation Peter experienced in Christ. We give Peter a hard time for taking his eyes off of Christ, cowering before the boisterous waves before him, causing him to sink, but I we should rather commend him. He alone of all the apostles experienced walking on the water, and even when He failed, He still experienced the saving power of Christ rescuing from the threatening waves.
The experience must have changed him for the better. Not only did he learn He could do things he never thought possible by relying on Christ, but he also learned that when our faith fails, Christ’s commitment to us buoys us up. I would rather have walked on the water and failed than to have not walked on the water at all, my hand gripped to the gunwale in panic and fear.
The moment Peter’s faith failed and he cried out “Lord, save me!” was the moment the hand of the Lord Jesus was there. Christ is like a father who straddles his son who is learning to walk, holding his hand as he sways from side to side, always encouraging him to take that first step but ready to catch him if he falls. Christ’s faithful love is seen in that He was right there when Peter fell. His hand was outstretched the moment Peter needed Him. Truly the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear.
A Gentle Rebuke
Notice the gentleness of the rebuke that follows, if it can even be called a rebuke. I imagine Christ standing there with Peter on the open water, His own hair drenched and Peter’s head nuzzled into His shoulder. He is smiling at Peter and encouraging him with these words: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:31). Like a proud father, Christ’s words to Peter were meant to fuel his little act of faith not to douse the flame. A smoldering wick He will not snuff out (Isa.42:3).
Some of us have a pretty bad view of Christ. Because of a stern upbringing or membership in a legalistic church, some of us imagine Christ is a joyless disciplinarian who only interacts with us to condemn or correct, a sort of unrelenting vice-principal who roots out our every failure and penalizes us for them.
Giraffes And Jesus
But Christ is different from that. He doesn’t uproot the weak saplings that He Himself has planted. Instead He encourages them. He gives them more water and more dirt. He gives them more exposure to the sunshine of Himself. I remember watching the birth of a giraffe one time at a zoo. I was amazed how quickly, after only a few minutes really, the mother made her calf stand up after it was born. Its long legs and knobby knees continually slipped back down after mother had pushed them up straight again. But in time those wet lanky legs began to take hold. Then after a few minutes of just barely standing, and only a few minutes, mother began to push her quivering calf to take a few steps. Down the calf fell but mother continued to force the calf up again.
Walking and growing with Christ is like that. Christ is like that mother giraffe. He has our good in mind. And He is too good to allow us to not experience walking with Him. That’s why He calls us out of the boat. That’s why He sends us into the storms. And that’s why we must face the wind and the waves. But rest assured, we are in good hands. We will make it home.
You can listen to pod casts from Shane Johnson’s show, “Christ Up Close,” by clicking here.
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Images Courtesy of:
Jesus Rescues Peter From Drowning: Lorenzo Vereziano
Stormy Sea – lilydust
Baby Giraffe: Ralph Daily
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