Peter Walking on Water
We have been talking about stories, those people who encountered Jesus on his way to the cross.
today we talk about one of my favorite characters in the Bible; Peter.
However to fully understand peters story I think it is really important for us to walk through the scriptures slowly this morning.
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone,
Right before this happens Jesus feed the 5000 men plus all the women and children.
it may seem odd that Jesus would send the people off like He did, or that he would tell the disciples to go on without Him.
However Johns gospel explains why He did this
After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
So If Jesus heard them saying that they were going to make Him king, them I am sure that the disciples heard it as well; so that would include Peter.
So I would think that Peter, as well as the other 11 must have been a little perplexed.
Why would Jesus not want to be made king… I mean the Messiah was going to be a king right?
He was supposed to deliver them...
Peter may have even began to question who Jesus was; or if He was the promised one.
and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
Its impossible for us to know how far out in the middle of the water the boat was, but we do know that the sea of Galilee is about 5 miles long. and Jesus had been praying during the fourth watch which is from 3-6am
so in three hours the disciples would have normally been able to make it across the sea of Galilee twice.
there is a significant word that Matthew uses in verse 24 which is Basaniso.
which is more literately translated as tormented; everywhere else this word is used in the New Testament it refers to being tormented by a demonic spirit.
so compound the fact that the disciples are tired, confused and now possibly being attacked by the devil I think we have a better Idea of Peter’s state of mind.
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
then all of the sudden they see what they think is a ghost walking towards them on the water..
how would you react.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
much like the when Matthew uses the word tormented Jesus says something amazing significant at this point.
He says it is I, first of all this is not poor grammar, nor is it Him simply saying “guys dont worry, is me.” this is a direct referral to His divinity.
His statement can be easily translated to I am which is the same way God refers to Himself in
God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ”
In verse 28 Peter replies
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
I think a lot of times when we talk about this passage we talk about Peter’s lack of faith, how he took his eyes off of Jesus.
I myself have said things like if you have just keep your eyes on him; or if you could of just had a little more faith.
I never stopped to think about all the stuff that might have been going through Peter’s mind.
the questions he must have had rolling around.
but the truth is when he Lord if it’s you tell me to come to you.
He wasn’t asking if it was Jesus.. he was asking are you the Messiah? are you the son of God. Are you truly the I Am?
So as we give Peter a little grace the morning, can you imagine how he felt when Jesus said Come?
what it must have been like for Him to step out on the water?
talk about being Big...
talk about not having faith in things…ladders and so on
Talk about the Willis tower in Chicago
Now I would imagine that Peter was not afraid of water, he was a fisher man… but it was dark
and this storm seemed unnatural...
I want to to stop for a minute close your eyes and try to picture that night..
it was cold, Peter was mentally physically exhausted,
huge waves were crashing all around, the wind was howling fiercely. the rain was stinging his face.
the thunder and the lighting we rumbling… and you take a step out of the boat onto the water, and expect not to sink!
one of the things we don’t talk about is how far peter made it? was it one step… was it two… did he make it 15 feet?
after he starts to go under and Jesus saves him two things happen…
first Jesus has some words for Peter.... He says you of little faith… why did you doubt..
Now I dont think this is Jesus scolding Peter.. I think it is more like a parent saying, you poor thing… there is empathy in the statement..
but there is also a lesson… the word Jesus uses for doubt is Distazo… which means going in two directions at once or serving two masters…
In essence Jesus is saying, you cant have faith and doubt at the same time… they cancel each other out.
The next thing that happens is that peter and the rest of the disciples proclaimed that Jesus is the son of God.
These two things are significant because it show us that even though our doubts many times cancle out our faith, that Jesus loves us enough to always be with us.
it also shows us that it is through our personal relationship and experiences with Jesus that we grow closer to God.
But heres the thing, how do you know about te story of Peter walking on the water?