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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Peter walks on the water (Matthew 14:22-30)

We all know that Peter made impulsive comments, and he would have been aware of his tendency. Yet even he would have been surprised if someone had predicted that one day he would ask to walk on the water. So we should think about why Peter asked for this experience.

His words indicate that his priority was not to walk on the water but to be with Jesus. So far, Jesus had given no hint that he intended to join them in the boat. Peter faced a choice as to whether he should stay in the boat without Jesus or join Jesus on the water. So we can see that Peter loved Jesus.

Moreover, Peter asked Jesus for permission to walk on the water. So his words were an expression of submission, that he had realised to some extent that Jesus had to obeyed. In addition, his request reveals trust in the competency of Jesus because Peter was sure that Jesus could enable him to walk on the water. And we can deduce that Peter wanted more than head knowledge of what Jesus could do – he wanted to participate in what Jesus was doing.

Strangely, the closer he got to Jesus, the stronger his doubts became. In the boat, it looked so straightforward to walk to Jesus. No doubt, the strong wind felt different when Peter went out of the boat. Still, he knew what to say with his brief prayer, ‘Lord, save me!’ Of course, when one obviously has come to the end of his resources, it may be easier to say this kind of prayer.

We are not wise when we focus on the fact that Peter also looked at the wind as well as at Jesus. Instead we should remember who it was that was looking at Peter. While the text does not say that Peter took his eyes off Jesus, even when looking at the storm, it clearly shows that Jesus did not take his eyes of Peter.

When Peter expressed little faith rather than strong faith, his weakness drew the sympathy of Jesus. The words, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ are almost a commendation, as if Peter had been doing so well but had failed in that detail. Because we must observe that Jesus that saved a person with little faith.

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