28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” -Matthew 14:28-33
This story about Peter comes immediately after the story of Jesus walking on the water. The disciples were terrified and believed they were seeing a ghost. Jesus responds to their fear with, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Our passage starts with Peter’s response to Jesus.
Peter, still having some doubts that it is truly Jesus walking on the water, asks for Jesus to command him to come out on the water with Jesus. Jesus grants Peter the permission he is asking for. When Peter got out on the water his gaze was focused on Jesus. He walked out to what we assume was right next to wear Jesus was standing.
However, we then read that Peter looked out to the storm and saw the wind. It was when Peter took his eyes off of Jesus that he began to sink. He shouted out for Jesus to save him. He must have been frightened as he was in the middle of the water in a storm.
Jesus immediately reaches out and grabs Peter. When I read this, I can’t help but think that Jesus reaches out to grab Peter as he cries out for Jesus to save him. Jesus doesn’t let Peter sink. Jesus doesn’t let Peter even fall into the water. Jesus reaches out and catches Peter.
When Jesus catches Peter, he asks why Peter doubted. Why did Peter doubt? We do not read that Peter lost faith in Jesus. We read that he looked at the storm. He took his eyes off of Jesus and began to see what was going on around him. It is exactly when Peter takes his eyes off of Jesus and began to focus on the storm that he doubted.
How does this play out in our lives? When are the storms all around you stealing your gaze away from Jesus? When we begin to focus on the storms of our lives we are taking our eyes off of Jesus and we begin to sink. We become fearful and call out to Jesus. We call out to God. We want someone to save us.
Jesus is reaching his hand out to catch you. Jesus will not let you fall into the stormy waters. But Jesus is asking you why you have doubted. What storm is it that took your gaze off of him. Jesus is refocusing your attention back on him.
So, step out onto those waters eyes locked on the Lord and know that Jesus commands the storms to stop.
God, the creator of the winds and the rain, we know that there will be storms in our lives. We know that when we keep our eyes on Jesus, we are provided the strength and capability to even walk on water. Help us, Lord, to keep our eyes on you. To not lose focus as we continue stepping out closer to you. And when our eyes begin to drift towards the storm, we thank you for reaching out and catching us. You never let us fall. You never let us drown. In Jesus name.
© 2019 Kiersten Smeal