It’s easy to get drawn to the miracles. I love the miracles, and yes they were – well – miraculous. But the miracles are there for a reason. They’re not just there to show us how powerful Jesus was. There is a principle for us to learn as well. Jesus didn’t just come to do miracles and signs, he came to show us how to live. We don’t learn to live by miracles, we learn to live by principles.
I love this story. Especially Mark’s telling of it. There’s this little phrase in there, “Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them…” In my mind, I get this picture of Jesus, just strolling on the water. We was just out for a walk and was going to pass by his disciples. The disciples are out there straining on the oars, and Jesus is out strolling the waves. He was just going to pass them by, but they noticed him. It’s kind of hilarious.
So, Peter tests Jesus, and Jesus plays along. The disciples are scared out of their minds, but Jesus is in total control and at total peace. Peter gets out of the boat and walks on the water, briefly. But, he got distracted by the waves, took his eyes off Jesus and started to sink. Jesus was the reason Peter was able to walk on the water. Jesus- who had power over the wind and waves and the laws of physics, was making it possible for Peter to do what he did. But Peter got overwhelmed by the enormity of his situation.
Even though he knew Jesus had been able to calm the storm in the pass, and had power over the wind and the waves, he allowed the seeming enormity of his current circumstance to control his faith. He doubted, so, He began to sink.
It’s so easy to take our eyes off of Jesus and think that we are doing something cool. Truth is, we couldn’t do the work at all unless we were empowered to do so by Jesus. It’s easy to take our eyes off of Jesus because the storm seems so big, but when we do that, we are taking our eyes off the most powerful thing in the universe. The storm is not the most powerful thing, Jesus is. The storm may seem bigger, but Jesus can calm the storm.
Walking on Water
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he dispersed the crowds. 23 And after he sent the crowds away, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone. 24 Meanwhile the boat, already far from land, was taking a beating from the waves because the wind was against it. 25 As the night was ending, Jesus came to them walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water they were terrified and said, “It’s a ghost!” and cried out with fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them: “Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” 28 Peter said to him, “Lord, if it is you, order me to come to you on the water.” 29 So he said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind he became afraid. And starting to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they went up into the boat, the wind ceased.
God help me not to be overwhelmed by the storms that seem bigger than life. Help me to know that you are the creator of all things, and having created them you also have authority over them. Help me not to take the work you do through me as my own accomplishment, but help to always rely on you for everything.