I’ve been working on a new daily bible reading plan this year – M’Cheyne – and I’ll be writing more on that in a later post. For now, I wanted to focus on something that really struck me from my reading this morning. If you grew up in Sunday school, or have spent much time in the bible, you’ll have read about Peter walking on water somewhere between dozens and thousands of times. But I had some different eyes this morning:
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
There are a few things that stand out for me here. First, Peter’s instinct is remarkable. I’m trying to imagine myself as Peter, and wondering what he was thinking about. Yes, he’s seen Jesus working miracles. But at this point, there have been few, if any, that impacted any of the disciples personally. Yet when Peter – in the middle of the night – realizes that he’s not seeing a ghost on the waters, but his teacher, doesn’t merely look on in wonderment or glorify God. He asks Christ if he, too, can walk on the water to meet his Master. To me, that speaks to a special kind of faith. A faith that essentially blocks every fact – including the law of gravity and any knowledge about the physical properties of water – and focuses every ounce of his being on his Christ and the desire to be with him. How often is my faith so exclusive? How often does my faith produce the kind of Christ-centered tunnel-vision that Peter experienced?
The second thing that made me really put on my thinking cap this morning was Jesus’ response. He didn’t say, “hang on, Pete, I’ll be there in a minute.” He didn’t say, “Peter, don’t waste my time with foolishness – just wait in the boat.” He simply said, “Come.” I imagine him smiling in a combination of joy and amusement at Peter’s childlike faith. And it made me wonder what I would be capable of – in Christ – if I just asked earnestly to walk with my Master. Would anything be impossible?