Lesson 67: Peter Walks on Water
Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear.
But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid."
And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."
So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"
And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God." (Matt 14:22-33, NKJV)
Most people have little or no problem with Jesus walking on water since He is the Son of God. Yes that is true, but we need to remember that He completely laid aside His deity to live as a man (Philippians 2:5-8; John 8:28-29). That is why Jesus prayed that His Father would restore to Him the glory that He had with the Father before He was born as a man (John 17:5), and why He refused to turn the rocks into bread to prove to Satan that He was the Son of God (Matthew 4:1-4). If Jesus had ever exercised His rights as God when He came to become the sacrifice for our sins (Psalm 2:7-8; John 3:13-18; 1 John 4:9-10; Hebrews 9:22-28), then He would have been unable to claim to be a man, and only a man could legally be the sacrifice for mankind's sin (Deuteronomy 18:18; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:42-45; Hebrews 9:22). So Jesus was just as dependent on the Holy Spirit then as we are now (John 8:28-29). That is why He spent so much time in prayer (Matthew 14:23; Luke 6:12, 9:28-29).
When Jesus walked on the water, He was actually walking on faith (Mark 11:22-24; 2 Corinthians 5:7). Why did Jesus walk on the water; was He simply showing off? No, He had a ministry to perform on the other side of the lake (Matthew 14:22), and no other means of transportation was immediately available. He didn't worry about the water, the fact He didn't have a boat, nor about the weather. Jesus knew He had a ministry to perform at a certain place, at a certain time, and He simply expected His Father to provide through the Holy Spirit. In fact, Mark tells us that Jesus would have simply passed by the boat full of His disciples if they hadn't called out to Him (Mark 6:48-50).
When Peter saw Him, he asked Jesus to command him to also walk on the water. As long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he had no problem walking on faith. It was only when he looked at the raging sea that he had a problem.
Here we can see that strong faith is able to support one's whole being: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Second, faith will only support you if you keep your eyes (mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical) fixed on Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Third, you weaken your faith, and perhaps even render it powerless, when you focus on your problems. Fourth, we have access to the very same faith that Jesus exhibited when He was on earth as a man (John 14:12-14).
In the next lesson, we will examine the faith of the Centurion.
May the Lord richly bless you and keep you always,
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