Peter, the disciple of Jesus, saw Jesus walking on the water and tested Him saying “Lord, if it is you tell me to come to you on the water.” Matthew 14:22-33
The rest of the disciples were not as bold as Peter. It was more than enough for them to have experienced the relief that what they had perceived as a ghost on the water was actually their Savior, Jesus, walking towards them. But Peter had the gift of miracles. Peter was called to be the “rock” or foundation for the church to be built upon. But in this text he was sinking. Do you ever feel like you have been so bold in your walk with Jesus only to find yourself sinking in what feels like insignificance?
I hate to break it to my fellow “miracle workers”, but in this text I don’t think as much about “bold Peter” or “doubtful Peter” as I do the other disciples in the boat. They had other roles in the kingdom of equal importance. Other gifts from the Holy Spirit. For me they were the “insignificant” stars behind the scenes that truly make up the show. I can just imagine what they might have been thinking as Peter was learning to use the faith God had placed in him. Here they had just exhaled, the storm was still raging, and they had to sit in the wind and the rain and watch Peter learning to walk on water. I am certain that their faith was encouraged at seeing the miracle. And I am certain that they were amazed and found encouragement by watching Peter learning to use his faith. I’m sure they even wanted what was best for him and probably felt empathetic towards him when his faith was only found to be lacking. But I am also certain they must have been exhausted. They had just come from listening to Jesus preach and the feeding of 5,000. Do you have a long winded Pastor who teaches amazing things but it just keeps going? Have you ever seen Jesus perform a miracle that blew your mind? You feel like you need time to absorb it. Your flesh just wants to process it so you can see what it is that God wants you to get out of it. You want for just 5 minutes to get off of what feels like a roller coaster ride. To put it bluntly, as beautiful as it is, it can be exhausting sitting under a miracle anointing.
Jesus had sent them ahead in the boat while He dismissed the crowds. They were met with the resistance of the wind and they endured it. Here Jesus shows up and they now have to wait for Peter to learn the lessons Jesus had for him. It wouldn’t surprise me if they quietly asked themselves “Who is this guy? Who does Peter think he is?” Many times we look at this text as a passage to learn “how” to work our faith. And, yes. We need to learn to operate in faith. We need opportunities to test it ourselves to learn the power behind it. The fact that he walked on water (if even only for a second) was, in fact, a miracle on it’s own. But the real miracle did not occur when Peter stepped on the water. The real miracle occurred when Peter, along with Jesus, got back in the boat and the storm stopped raging. Everyone in the boat responded by worshiping. They weren’t worshiping Peter for walking on water for the brief moment he did. While Peter was out on the water, they may have been learning the grace of long suffering. They worshiped Jesus together for saving all of them. What they had just witnessed once again proved to them that He was God in the flesh and they were amazed by that.
Peter wasn’t placed on the water. He was placed in the boat. He asked Jesus to call him out of the boat. Jesus honored the request because it was Peter’s learning opportunity. Once we learn how to use our gifts, we need to get back in and stay on the boat that Jesus places us in for everyone’s safety. I see Pastors run off on their own all the time with no accountability trying to build the kingdom of heaven all by themselves. I have even done it myself. When you have seen Jesus perform miracles through you it is easy to let it go to your head. I am certain that Peter must have felt he could conquer the world in the few moments his feet stayed put on the water. He must have felt extremely significant. He may have even thought himself to be in charge. After all, it was his boat everyone was using. But he had to learn that Jesus was his one and true foundation. He had to learn his role in the kingdom. He had to learn that he was just as insignificant as everyone else and staying where the Lord places us is where our own safety lies. He had to learn how to be used in a significant way as a part of an entire team. He had to learn that the boat itself was what they all needed to get to the next stop on their journey.
Perhaps Peter wanted to “be like Jesus”. Remember the whole WWJD thing? Religion teaches us that we have to be “like Christ”. But if we truly apply the acronym (What WOULD Jesus DO?) we know that we are merely to ask the question, find an example of what Jesus did in the text, and then follow it. God gave Peter the understanding that he was not like Christ very quickly. In fact, he wasn’t created to be like Christ from the beginning. We are created in God’s image, yes. But when we seek understanding for His image we find we are created to be ourselves. Peter was a perfectly crafted vessel being broken to carry the gift of salvation the Lord had placed in him. If God has placed you in a “boat” with others, perhaps a church home, ministry team, or even a relationship or work, stay there until if and when the Lord releases you. And let HIm use your gifts mightily. For everyone’s safety. We can’t worry about trying to be “like” Christ. But we do need to concern ourselves with following Him alongside the others He sends.
In this passage, the entire group of disciples were sent across the lake. It wasn’t about Peter. It was about what happened later. After the storm scene they arrived in Gennesaret and many people were healed. This was the greatest miracle in this text. It wasn’t about Peter OR the disciples. It was about the multitudes Jesus would bring deliverance to. If you have learned to exercise your faith and learned your place in the kingdom, “stay in the boat” where you are strategically positioned. Even if it “feels” insignificant to you. Because you have no idea what might be on the horizon or how the Lord might use you next. The other people serving alongside you need the gift you bring to the table. And you need the gifts the Lord has given them, too. The Lord uses all of you.
Also, in this text the Lord was showing Peter how much doubt he had. Sometimes we run off our own because we don’t trust the things about God we already know. God has to give us an experience to remind us that we can trust Him to operate in our calling. If you have already been strategically placed in the kingdom, God (and others) may be waiting for you to realign yourself with (resubmit to) the common mission. By recognizing your position, the abilities God has placed in you, the people He has called to serve with you, and returning your focus to it (instead of allowing doubt, fear, and insecurity to take center stage) God might just use you to calm a storm in many people. You never know. The moment your foot hits the floor of the boat the Lord intended for you might be the very moment everyone in the boat gets to stop suffering.
It’s easy to let our insecurities take over. But we know the meaning of grace. And we know that, after a storm in our lives occurs, healing and abundance for ourselves and others always takes place. As the other disciples in the boat learned while watching Peter, miracles follow those who believe. This lake experience was training for them as well as Peter. It’s an example of how Jesus will leave many to go after one and return them to the fold. It’s also an example of how we need to be content in seasons of patience. How Jesus helps us to endure the hardships associated with the season and still maintain a balance of being open to what the Lord is doing. And, of course, how we ourselves must always rely upon Him to do the work through us. When miracles become a way of life for us, we have to know our place in things and be able to stay ready for just about anything. And we must always keep our eyes on the prize. He loves all of us. Every lesson, every struggle, every fresh start, is always about the end result of salvation. It’s about us, true. But it is always about Him and His plans for someone else’s new beginning. It’s about the truest miracle of all. It’s about Jesus and salvation.
I put the term “stay in the boat” in quotations because this is a phrase my Pastor uses often to point out significant symbolism. But, for me, this passage isn’t as much about the boat as it is where you place your feet. What if we don’t need to test God but simply believe His promises? The Lord tells us “I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.” in Joshua 1 verse 3. I am sharing this with you today because I run across a lot of people believing for Kingdom inheritance and walking in a Father’s Blessing. If you are believing for this, I want that for you and so many. In fact, I am standing in agreement in prayer for you. But most of all I want it for the children of God who are still out there hungry, tired, alone and desperately waiting. Though steps we take may seem so insignificant today, we can’t know the glory the Lord has planned for the other side of them. He wouldn’t have placed us where we are if that were not His plan. I want to encourage you. Keep walking. Let Him continue to align your feet. You are not insignificant. You are equipped by God and you already are strategically positioned. Keep believing. You already have an inheritance. You just have yet to see it.
Have you accepted Christ as your Savior?
If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer:
"God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay. I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"
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