How To Walk On Water
By Steph Nickel
Everyone knows that to walk on water is impossible, yet Jesus did. Steph Nickel adds a modern perspective to the story of Jesus walking on water.
A Walk On Water
Matthew 14:26-33 (ESV) says, “When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, ‘It is a ghost!’ and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.’ And Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’”
Peter . . . many of us can relate to this disciple. I know I can.
Before this follower of Jesus Christ denied His Lord three times—and was subsequently reinstated by the risen Lord—he exemplified great faith. “Lord,” he said, “if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
On the water! Can you imagine?
When his fellow disciples were shaking in fear, watching their Master approach walking on the water, crying out, “It’s a ghost!” Peter was looking for proof—but not the kind of proof that sits back and says, “Show me.” Instead, he was willing to climb over the side of the boat and walk to Jesus.
Though Jesus knew it would be one of the shortest walks in history, He still invited Peter to come to Him. This bold and somewhat impetuous disciple experienced the wonder of walking on top of the waves. But then he did what many of us do. He looked at his surroundings.
“Wait! I can’t do this. What was I thinking?”
And he sank like a stone. If we take our eyes off the Lord, the same can happen to us—in an instant.
But perhaps the most awesome part of this story comes next.
More awesome than the courage and faith Peter exemplified?
More awesome than someone walking on water?
Jesus didn’t shake His head and let His disciple flounder. He didn’t think, “Well, that’ll teach him.” No, the passage says He immediately reached out and took hold of Peter.
Yes, he chastened him and said, “O you of little faith,” but the Lord rescued him. When they got into the boat with the others, the wind ceased. And—after all these years—we can read this story and learn from it. I’m 100 percent certain Peter had no idea his story would encourage thousands, maybe millions, over the years.
Keeping Your Eyes On Jesus
Do you jump into things without weighing all your options, without looking at it from all angles? I know I do. Sometimes I immediately question the wisdom of my actions and get that sinking feeling. “What have I done?” At other times, I walk on the waves for a bit, riding the high of the experience, but then I divert my gaze and ask myself what I was thinking?
Ideally, I would wait for the Lord’s direction and only head out after I hear His voice beckoning me to come. And then I would keep my eyes on Him, virtually oblivious to the wind and waves, to those things that threaten to overwhelm me.
But life isn’t ideal and I don’t always keep my eyes on Jesus. I’m embarrassed to tell You how often I’ve promised to do better—tomorrow. To read His Word more faithfully. To spend more time in prayer. To make a more concerted effort to make Him known. To reach out in love.
But when I sink, He proves Himself faithful as He did with Peter. He lifts me up and dries me off. He makes sure I’m safe. And though I can’t take it for granted that He’ll do so the next time I leap before I look, I can trust Him.
If my desire is to draw close . . . If I’m willing to respond to His voice when He tells me to come to Him . . . If I take yet another step of faith . . . I know He’ll be there for me. And I know He’ll be there for you.
The Indwelling Holy Spirit
As believers in Jesus Christ, we have His indwelling Holy Spirit to reveal how the Scriptures apply to our lives, to enable us to walk in obedience—even when we feel the winds whipping the seawater spray against us.
What better gift could we possibly give our children than the knowledge that no matter how stormy their life gets, they can keep their eyes on Jesus? And even when they don’t, He wants to reach out to them and lift them to safety. And we must remind ourselves of this often as well.
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Images courtesy of:
Sea of Galilee – Pacman
Peter and Jesus Walk on Water – Ivan Aivazovsky
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