Walking on the Waves

by Duane Davis

 

Someone with even a passing knowledge of Christianity and its iconography knows the story of Jesus walking on the water. It’s widely regarded as one of Jesus’ most impressive and powerful miracles. What I’m more interested in, however, is the second part of the story.

What strikes me as interesting about Peter’s attempt, and subsequent failure, to walk on the water is, that despite believing he could walk on the water, his inability to is a result of being of “little faith.” Before stepping out, he’d asked Jesus, if it was really Him, to tell him to come out onto the water. Peter manages to actually make it out a ways before sinking — as result of fearing the storm and the waves. Jesus then scolds him for having little faith and returns to the boat.

 

Now, if we look closer at what actually causes Peter’s failure, Matthew (the only apostle whose Gospel mentions Peter trying to walk on water) doesn’t actually mention Peter losing faith (at least in the NIV translation). Peter fell because he was afraid when “he saw the wind” (Matthew 14:30), and immediately asks Jesus to save him. So why does Jesus chastise him as having “little faith”?

When adversity strikes, our first thought is to look to God for comfort. The lesson we can learn from Peter is that sometimes our problems are because we didn’t look to God when adversity wasn’t there. If God is only our bad-weather friend, how can we expect him to prevent more bad weather from coming?

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