Focus on Jesus
Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
You have to love Peter! So ready to do and even to the point of not thinking about all the details, at least until the details start to smack him in the face. This part of the Gospel is well-known and even though the obvious meaning has been brought out time and time again, it is still appropriate to remind and be reminded of this important lesson.
When Jesus called Peter out of the boat into the winds and onto the water, Peter was going to do what only one other man (Jesus) had done. Yet, as he got out there he began to realize how precarious his situation was. With no boat to rely on, his feet on mere liquid water and a storm that was keeping them from making progress whipping the wind and the waves around him, he became afraid.
You will notice that they were afraid when they saw Him on the water. I have to laugh a little at Peter because he speaks so quickly. Imagine if it had not been the Lord, perhaps even a mischievous ghost or demon would he not have received the same answer “Come”? Still perhaps it was the voice of Jesus that Peter knew so well and in that split second, he wanted to be where Jesus was, so Jesus bids him to come.
However, Peter was much like a baby learning to walk. The encouraging parent is there a few feet away. What must seem like hundreds of steps away to the child can be done, one step at a time, even if it is a bit wobbly. Still for a couple steps, off the baby goes and then a dog, cat or some other distraction happens and down the baby goes.
Peter was walking on the water but in a moment of simple humanity he looked around and saw the winds and he became afraid and he began to sink. What Peter did was to begin to focus on the winds and not on Jesus. Once that happened, he began to sink. Still, even in his sinking, Jesus was able to save Him. It was a test for Peter and whether we think of Peter as having failed that test or not, I am certain that it made an impression on him.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2)
We can learn many lessons from this but two are sufficient. 1) The Lord does not call us where we cannot go. 2) Where ever we go we should keep our eyes focused on Jesus.
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. So often we run around thinking that we are doing what God wants us to do but unable to find his direction from the Scriptures. We do what WE want but have not actually heard God tell us to do it. So when times get tough we think “just have faith” and it will be ok. However, if it isn’t what God said, then what is the faith actually in? The Scriptures tell us how to live our lives and how the man of God can be properly equipped for all the good works God has in mind so we should find our marching orders there, in the Bible.
Then, as we go about doing them, we need to keep our focus on Jesus. We need to realize He, too, has lived this life and He has finished the race. As we focus on Jesus, the distractions of this world will not affect us. At least not enough so as to cause us to sink. Of course, even if we do begin to sink, the Lord is only a call away!