Did you know that two people in history have walked on water? While we know that Jesus did it, the apostle Peter walked on water too – albeit for a short time (see Matthew 14:22-33)!
Let’s examine 6 lessons from this common man’s water-walking experience and learn how it can inspire us to do great things with the Lord’s help.
1. Peter Wanted to Go Where Jesus Was
Before we discuss Peter’s water-walking experience, let’s get some background.
After the miracle of feeding 5,000 men, in addition to women and children, Jesus sent His disciples by boat to the land of Gennesaret while He remained behind to pray.
The story tells us that the disciples encountered violent wind on the way, struggling to control the boat.
Suddenly, in the midst of the storm, they saw Jesus walking on the water in their direction.
Imagine that! The account says that it was the 4th watch of the night, which means it was between 3-6 a.m.
So you can see how these men would scream when they saw Jesus, thinking He was a ghost.
But Jesus spoke calming words: “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
What Peter said in response was shocking: “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
Are you kidding me?
While I knew that Peter was bold, asking Jesus to command him to come to him on water during a wind storm took boldness to a whole new level.
It seems to me that Peter could have asked for a less risky way for Jesus to prove His identity!
However, it also showed that Peter wanted to go where Jesus was – even if it meant leaving his place of safety.
As Jesus’ disciples, our desire is to go where Jesus is too each day, even if it means leaving our comfort zone.
We know that the Lord’s presence is the most secure place we can be!
2. Peter Recognized Jesus’ Voice
In response to Peter’s request, Jesus said but one word: “Come.”
Would Peter recognize Jesus’ voice above the noise? The Bible gives us this assurance:
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”– John 10:27
Peter had spent over 3 years as Jesus’ disciple. Obviously He expected his Lord to answer him and he recognized Jesus’ voice when he heard it.
3. Peter Obeyed Jesus’ Voice
Once Peter recognized that the Lord was speaking to him, he had a choice on how to respond to it.
Jesus told Peter to come; would Peter say, “No Lord’ I was just joking. I know it’s you!”
No. Peter got out of the boat and started going to Jesus. He wanted to experience something he knew only Jesus could do.
4. Faith in Jesus Kept Peter Afloat
The Bible doesn’t mention anything about Peter’s first step on to the water; it just says that he walked to go to Jesus.
Now you might expect Jesus to walk on water, being the Son of God and all.
However, Peter was a regular person. He was not born of a virgin, conceived through the Holy Spirit.
Peter had a fishing business; he had a wife, perhaps children.
This ordinary man was able to do something extraordinary because of his relationship with an extraordinary God!
Peter defied the laws of gravity, demonstrating that Spiritual laws are higher than natural laws.
As long as Peter’s focus remained on going to Jesus, his faith kept Peter afloat.
5. Fear Made Peter Sink
Everything was going well with Peter’s water-walking experience but then a shift occurred in his focus:
But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”– Matthew 14:30
After Peter got over the initial shock of seeing Jesus walking on the water, it seems that he did not notice the wind any more.
However on his journey to Jesus, Peter noticed the circumstances again.
One thing to note is that the wind was boisterous before Peter’s walk, so that part had not changed.
What did change was Peter’s thoughts about what the wind could do; He gave the wind the power to stop him, which it did not have before!
When Peter gave his power away through fear, he began to sink.
The good news is, as soon as Peter started sinking, he started calling!
Plus, Peter knew who to call: “Lord, save me!”
6. Jesus Lifted Peter Up
The Bible tells us that Jesus stretched out His hand and caught Peter immediately to prevent him from sinking.
Then Jesus said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Notice Jesus said that Peter had “little faith.” But little faith is still faith; Little faith gave Peter water-walking power because he used it!
Consider what Jesus said in Mark 11:23:
For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”
One thing to know about faith: Faith Acts!
- In Peter’s story, faith walked.
- In Jesus’ example, faith believed and spoke.
I believe that as long as Peter walked, his faith would have kept him afloat.
Instead, Peter feared which grew into doubt. Peter’s doubt affected his actions; he started sinking when his faith stopped acting.
So what action is your faith inspiring you to do?
Even though Peter sank during his water-walking experience, he gained an experience that none of the other disciples had:
Peter knew what it felt like to walk on water!
May the Lord illuminate His word through Peter’s story so that we can use our faith to take us to extraordinary places for God’s glory!