A Step Of Faith
Introduction: This portion from the word of God talks about Peter and his disciples sitting on the boat in and suddenly seeing Jesus walking on water.
This event in Peter’s life with His Master, Jesus Christ, has two points of views-Faith and Weakness .I want us to ponder for a moment about Peter’s faith and not his weakness .
I will divide this sermon into three points:
1.Jesus walking towards the boat: In the midst of the difficulties that the disciples must have encountered traveling from place to place with Jesus, in the midst of the physical and mental fatigue, in the midst of the rising waves, they must have been really feeling down; instead what did they see but Jesus walking on the water towards them. Jesus came:-
A) In a manner, which was frightening, and which they dare not accept Him. He came as if to demand something from them. In short, let us look into these demands- (a )To confess our sins and weaknesses, to forsake the pleasures of this world- This demand is very frightening and we are scared to look at Him and also to accept Him. We don’t want to do that, we will just reject it outright, we cannot confess our weaknesses. Here Jesus wants Peter to understand his own weakness and to confess to Him; He will help him.
b) To serve Him-This is also frightening and unacceptable. It is not easy to give our service to the Lord because it demands true repentance. That is impossible. Looking at Jesus at that time was really scary because of this demand.
c) To surrender oneself completely to Him and His will- Most of us are not willing to give in to this demand and when we look at the One who is making this demand from us we get scared to look at Him or to hear Him. We cannot tolerate this, we will evade it and will not do it.
B) Jesus came to them in a very downhearted manner. He came with a broken heart which brought tears to their eyes. They were scared when they thought that ‘He was a ghost’…verse 26. They started screaming because they were too afraid. Maybe they cried and felt really downhearted because at the time when they were already feeling down and tired this ghostly specter also appeared. Some times we too we meet Him personally in our lives-He demands something from us. He may come to us down and dispirited but do not forget that He is JESUS.
2. In the midst of that, they heard, “Don’t be afraid it is I”, verse 27. These words gave birth to faith and trust. The fear and despondency was removed from their hearts. Now Peter was filled with courage and it showed in his words, “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Verse 28. When it was told that it was Jesus, Peter’s faith became stronger and his fear disappeared. The impossibility was transformed into a possibility. Then Jesus ordered him, “Come”. Verse 29 and then and there a STEP OF FAITH started in Peter. He did not listen to anyone nor think at all, he just stepped out of the boat into the waters of the sea. I imagine Jesus must have watched this daring, reckless and romantic disciple lovingly; watched him stepped out of the boat into the water and walked. Jesus loves to accept anyone who believes and trust His word; He does not appreciate those who are narrow minded in their faith. He wants us to obey Him and do anything He says even though it may look foolish or crazy to others.
I also see the other disciples in the boat trying to stop Peter- They must have tried to reason with him –Don’t do anything stupid, how can you walk in water, that too in the stormy water. Don’t you know the law of gravity? Have you forgotten that you live in the seaside and know the sea so well? Have you ever seen anyone walk on the waves before? -All the things they said are very reasonable. At one look it seems that Peter wanted to do the impossible and also Jesus called him to that very same thing. It feels right for Jesus to say, “Peter, why do you ask for the impossible and the ridiculous-to walk on water? ”.
3. Jesus and the difficulties in people’s lives: Peter stepped out of the boat into the impossible. How can it be humanely possible to walk on water? Everything in front of him at that time was a sea of impossibility. But I want to remind you that everything that whatever Jesus does is to lead us to face the problems in our lives and through this He shows His strength. He worked on people’s lives when impossibilities threatened to engulf them.
Just to remind us, Jesus spoke these words- “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”; which sounds so impossible.
“You who are lame, get up and walk”; can that be possible?
“Come here”, he told Peter on the water. That cannot be possible. Yet it was at that point of time that Peter, with faith, stepped on the water. As children of God and of the church, we do try to do certain things for the Lord and at the same time we see the difficulties standing in front of us. God will help us get the same faith that Peter had-You ordered me to come to you… I will obey with faith. As a church we have heard the order that we should climbed into and out off the boat and stepped with faith even on the stormy waters.
It is such a nice thing to know that the one who called Peter is the same one who holds the waters of the seas in the palms of His hands. Peter did not step on anything but into the palm of that Hand, the hand that measures the waters of the seas. We also in our endeavor, let us understand that the Hand of God is always with us and as the songwriter wrote-“Let me hold your hand
Conclusion: Even when we step in faith, as humans, weaknesses follow us everywhere. When Peter walked on the water, the failure that he went through was not God’s but his alone. Peter stopped trusting God and that’s why he failed. Peter looked and focused only at the difficulties that he had to go through. Yes Peter believed in Jesus but he believed more on his own weaknesses. He saw death that may befall him-the crashing waves, the storm, the lightning and the thunder –a frightening sight indeed. He believed more on the elements of nature. He forgot that that the one who called him has the power over heaven and earth, the seas and the oceans and they all obey Him.
In conclusion let us remember that Peter understands his weaknesses and did not try to hide them at all. Vs 30 clearly shows this-“Lord, save me.” This is a prayer of confession-
Confession of failure
Confession of defeat
Confession of need
When Peter confessed, Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, vs 31. Jesus was the one who caught and held Peter and not the other way round. Now we see Peter in the Hands of Jesus and not anywhere else. Troubles may be really big in our lives but do we confess our inabilities, our shortcomings and our needs like Peter?. If we do so the Lord will stretch out His hand and He will never shorten it to help us.
Just one step enough for me- sings a singer who repented. He was searching for God’s power while walking in an encircling gloom but he wanted the heavenly light to guide him.
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