I’ve long wondered what prompted Peter to want to jump out of the safety of “the boat” in the midst of a raging storm. Haven’t you?
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”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?”32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
There are many lessons we can glean from these 10 verses in Matthew 14, and I have heard many sermons and Sunday school lessons with practical applications. However, it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that God gave me practical application for my own life, and I hope they will help you too. It was at a time when I was being prompted to step out of my comfort zone and leave the safety of the “boat.”
The lessons are pretty simple, yet challenging at the same time.
- Take Territory & Testify
When God says something to us or speaks a promise to our heart, we must believe that He really means it. In verse 22, Jesus sent the disciples to the boat and told them He would meet them on the other side.
Four of the disciples were skilled fishermen, they knew their way around a boat, including Peter. The wind was against them this particular night. I am sure this was not the first time for them to experience a storm like this. They knew how to tact and work the boat back and forth, and yet, they allowed fear of the storm to override what they had been trained to do.
Sometimes when God says something to us, we must believe Him and His words no matter what the natural circumstances show. We must Believe when Jesus speaks, He means it. The disciples should not have had fear for their safety, Jesus had already told them they would survive the storm or anything else that might have come at them that night, because He was going to meet them on the other side!
In verse 29, Peter has an opportunity to Believe yet again when Jesus simply says, “COME!” This time however, Peter must take action and obey.
Peter asked Jesus a question, Jesus responded simply with one word. Jesus told Peter to Come. In order to do that Peter had to obey and take action on that one word – COME!
Jesus is inviting all of us to Come to Him. He is prompting us, and waiting for us to come outside of the boat. The boat is a safe place. It’s a place of learning. It’s a comfortable place, but in order to obey we must take action and get out of our comfort zone – or some might say, get out of your box.
Once we have believe and obey, we must align ourselves with what God has spoken. We must commit to it and advance forward. Verse 29 states that Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on water! Peter, who was afraid and unsure of the situation he found himself in, aligned himself with the word Jesus spoke.
Peter committed! Peter took a step out of the safety and shelter of the boat. He began to walk away from the boat and advance toward Jesus.
Then, we have an UH -OH moment. Peter got distracted and took his eyes off Jesus. I think he may have realized what his impulsive nature had gotten him into. Jesus is there and reaches out to Peter and speaks to him. Jesus asks, “Why did you doubt? Why did you have such little faith?”
Then, Jesus then gets in the boat and the wind calms. We must realize, Jesus was the safety … not the boat. You see, the safest place for Peter or any of the disciples, was with Jesus on the water. Yet Peter lost sight of that and looked at the natural circumstances and situations. The raging sea and howling wind, and everything else around were a distraction and a hindrance to Peter in that moment.
Take Territory & Testify
Once Jesus was with them in the boat and all was calm, the disciples worshiped Him. Then they continued to the other side of the lake, where Jesus originally told them He would meet them. I love these verses that wrap up this section, because, they model exactly what we are supposed to do when we have a holy encounter with Jesus.
Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed. (Matthew14:33-36)
We are supposed to worship, testify and share about what He has done for us. Others need to know about the goodness and faithfulness of God.
In the midst of the storm, He is always there. As we worship Him, He calms the raging seas and get us to the safety of the shore, where we can then share with others what He has for us, in us, and through us!
The final lesson for us from the boat?
If YOU want to WALK on WATER you HAVE to GET OUT of the Boat!