January 3, 2017

Today you should read: Matthew 14:22-36

Jesus walking on water is a passage that many people struggle with. It’s easy to understand, right? Literally, no one else besides Jesus (and Criss Angel) have walked on water. So it would be easy for us to discount this as a fun story but not reality. But when you recognize that Jesus is the Creator of the universe, you should have no problem believing that he can command the seas and have them obey Him. But what is amazing here is that Jesus also leads Peter to be able to walk on the water.

The disciples were frightened about what they were seeing coming at them on the water. Jesus could discern their fear, and called to them saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” Peter was the first to respond, asking Jesus to command him to come out on the water if it was truly him. So Peter was walking towards him, focusing on Jesus, and then he began to sink. Notice this! It doesn’t say that he immediately submerged beneath the surface like when we jump into the pool, he was slowly sinking. Why? Jon Bloom explains:

“Now, if we’re not thinking carefully, we might assume that what held Peter up was his faith. But that’s not accurate. It wasn’t Peter’s faith keeping him afloat. It was Jesus. Peter knew that. That’s why he didn’t just leap out of the boat on his own. He asked Jesus to command him to come. What Jesus did was honor Peter’s faith by commanding the water to bear his weight. But once Peter was outside the safety and familiarity of the boat, out in (or on) uncharted waters, everything started feeling precarious. Why? Well, people don’t actually walk on water. We may be so used to the story that the ridiculousness of walking on water doesn’t hit us. But it sure hit Peter at that moment.”

It was Jesus, not Peter’s faith, that was holding him up. And as he began to sink, Peter had nothing else left except to cry out to Jesus to save him. Peter then declared that Jesus was God.

Bloom finishes his meditation with this thought:

“Trusting in Jesus and his word over our perceptions is difficult to learn. That’s why the Lord takes us through so many different faith-trying, faith-building experiences. And when he does, it is never for just our own benefit. He’s displaying his power so others’ faith will be strengthened too. And, like the disciples in the boat, we end up saying together, “Truly you are the Son of God” (Matthew 14:33).”

No matter what you are going through, you can rest in knowing that we worship a God who commands the circumstances of the world, and that he  is using every situation to grow you and the people around you more into the image of Christ.

By: Graham Withers

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Author: cpclexington

Lexington & Richmond KY

2 thoughts on “January 3, 2017”

  1. Thanks for the good word this morning, Graham!

    “Glance at your problems, Gaze on the Lord”

    I heard these words in a sermon many years ago related to this passage of scripture. When Peter gazed upon the Lord he walked on the water. The moment he took his gaze off Jesus and placed it on his problem, (the raging sea) he began to sink.

    This has certainly proven true in my life. When I gaze at my problems and merely glance at the Lord my problems overwhelm me. Prayer, scripture reading, worship, and the Holy Spirit are the only things that keep my gaze upon Jesus.

    As the old hymn says,

    Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
    Look full in His wonderful face,
    And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim,
    In the light of His glory & grace.

  2. Mike and Graham, wow! Great points! It’s interesting that Peter didn’t just ask to walk on calm water, his request was in the middle of some very rough sea. I wonder if he was secretly hoping Jesus would calm the water a bit before he stepped out of the boat.

    What I can’t get past is the image of slowly sinking, rather than just plunging in. It’s how our faith goes, isn’t it? We trust God in our circumstances, but as we begin to focus more on the circumstance and less on God, the overwhelm slowly creeps in and covers us. As I’ve gone through various trials in life, I’ve grown to savor the feeling of peace that comes from knowing God is in control.

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