Daily Dose, June 9 — Summer Blockbusters: Big Bible Stories

 

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.”

So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:22-33)

My wife is responsible for getting me the greatest birthday present I’ve ever received. One early November afternoon, she surprised me by taking me to a small airfield outside of Rome, Georgia. My present was something I’d always wanted to experience: I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. It was an amazing experience, and I loved every minute of it. There was also a really simple lesson to be learned: To experience something, you often must be willing to take at least one step. Tethered to the jump instructor at the edge of the open plane door (2 miles off the ground), I still had to take that first step into the unknown. There’s one critical step between being a sightseer and a skydiver!

Peter must have experienced some of those feelings of elation, excitement and overwhelming fear. He really wanted to experience something special. Notice that it’s actually Peter that brings this story about. He says, “Jesus, if it’s really you, then invite me to come out on the water with you.” It’s as if Peter is saying, “Jesus, if it’s really you, then cause me to do something that I can’t possibly do!”

Jesus invited him to step out on the water…and Peter did. At first. He took a step, and something amazing happened. At first. He was brave. At first. He left the comfort and security of the boat and risked the tossing and turning of the waves. At first. But then his mind returned to the fact that he was doing something that he couldn’t possibly do. He began to sink. Jesus didn’t abandon him there; instead, Jesus rescued him from the water.

I think Peter grew from this experience. Author John Ortberg said, “The decision to grow always involves a choice between risk and comfort. This means that to be a follower of Jesus, you must renounce comfort as the ultimate value of your life.”

The text says that the disciples worshiped Jesus after watching what happened. Can you imagine how much MORE Peter worshiped him, having experienced it?

But he had to get out of the boat.

What’s one risky thing that you feel like God may be asking of you? Are you willing to step out of the boat? — Rev. Brad Greene