Matthew 14 records the events surrounding Peter walking on the water. Peter and the other apostles are on a boat without Jesus in verse 22. The waters become rough; the weather begins to storm; and Jesus appears upon the water. Peter calls out to Him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Unfortunately, when Peter see the wind kicking up the water, his faith falters and Jesus must save Him.
What possessed Peter to say to himself, “I want to get out of this boat and walk to Jesus,” in the middle of this storm? We speak of Peter’s rashness, of his impulsivity, of his good intentions. How many of us would have simply stayed in the boat? More important than these factors though may have been his desire to be like Jesus and to be with Jesus.
Remember Jesus washing the apostles’ feet in John 13. At first Peter resists, but, when Jesus says Peter could have no part with Him without this washing, Peter then requests his whole body to be washed. Also, in John 21, when Peter realizes Jesus’ identity, he again leaps into the sea to get to Jesus. Whatever the cost, Peter wants to be like Jesus, and he wants to be with Jesus.
Like Peter, we occasionally act and speak before thinking. More than these, we should be like Peter in our desire to be like and with the Lord. Philippians 2:5 calls on us to be like Christ in humility and obedience. I Peter 2:21 instructs us to follow in His steps. In John 14:3, Jesus promises we can be with Him one day, and Matthew 11:28 extends an invitation to come and be close to Christ, laying our burdens at his feet.
Matthew 16:24-26 tells us how we can have a part with Him, how we can be with Him and like Him. We must put self and self-interest to death, and fix our gaze firmly on Him. We have to get out of that boat if we are going to draw closer to Him. This involves getting outside our comfort zone and make sacrifices. Yes, when Peter took his eyes off the Lord, however, he began to sink beneath the waves. We need to keep Jesus firmly in our sights, but it begins with that first step.
Like Paul in Philippians 3:13-15, we should be continually pressing forward. Colossians 3:1 calls on us to set our minds on things above. We need to determine that, wherever we are spiritually, it’s time to get out of the boat and approach Jesus, striving always to be like Him and with Him.
lesson by Tim Smelser