Peter on the Water

The life of faith sometimes feels like stepping out of a boat to walk on water.

(Image © Wavebreak Media Ltd/Bigstock)

Simon Peter called out to the water-walker, “Master, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water” (Matthew 14:28). The Master bade him come. Cautiously, Peter stepped over the side of the pitching boat. He felt the solid water beneath his feet and took a few faltering steps toward the Master. The crashing wind and waves around him, however, reminded him that such things were not possible, and he immediately sank into the water, crying out, “Master, save me!”

Peter’s predicament and cry for help relived the opening words of Psalm 69:

Save me, O God, for the waters have threatened my life. I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and a flood overflows me. (Psalm 69:2-3[1-2])

The Savior immediately stretched out his hand, took hold of him, and pulled him up:

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. (Psalm 18:16)

The Master chastised Simon Peter, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).

The story illustrates the risks and hazards of faith. The life of faith sometimes feels like stepping out of a boat to walk on water. The wind and waves of life dismay the man of faith. He sinks in doubt. The Master rescues Him.

Despite his doubts, Simon Peter’s faith surpassed that of the other twelve who did not take the risk of leaving the boat. The story portended things to come in his life. Simon Peter stepped out again from the midst of the twelve when he made his confession of faith in Matthew 16. He again sank in doubt when he denied the Master. His rescue by the hand of Yeshua portended his reinstatement after the denial.

The boatmen scrambled to pull Peter and the Master into the boat. No sooner had Yeshua’s foot found the bottom of the boat then the wind fell suddenly silent and reverent. The waves bowed their proud heads. At the same moment a heavy thump rocked the boat as they bumped into the docks at Capernaum. “Immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going” (John 6:21). All night they had struggled to cross the lake but could not. Now in the blink of an eye the Spirit whisked them to their destination. Gentle waves lapped the stony shore. The sun broke over the eastern horizon.

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