Christians know well the history where Peter walks on the water. Regarded as one of the most spectacular and impressive things that has ever happened to any man who believed in the Lord Jesus, this miracle remains one of the most sought after experiences by anyone, including this writer.
How did Peter do it? How did he walk on a naturally “impossible to walk on” surface? Is there anything we can learn from his experience? The answers to these questions will be obtained throughout this study.
Peter walks on the water
Many of us come up with our own ideas and explanations for how Peter walks on the water. Pedro, who was a fisherman, knew that no man on earth can walk on water, much less a rough sea (Matthew 14:24). She couldn’t have thought of walking on water at a time like this. However, we see a very important clue to his faith experience here: she saw Jesus walking on the water. Matthew 14: 25-26 registers us:
“At the fourth watch of the night, Jesus approached them walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled and said: “He is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.. “
Imagine yourself as one of the disciples in that boat that the waves dragged from one side to the other. pretty scary, TRUE? Then all of a sudden you see someone walking on water as if it were smooth solid ground. And that someone who walks on the water is Jesus.
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Peter saw the Lord Jesus do the impossible. Peter saw the Lord doing what no man on earth could ever do, defying the laws of physics and gravity and whatever common sense has to say. Perhaps this sight made you think:
“If my Master can walk on water” “Can you make me do that too?” Pedro, still in shock from what he was seeing, had only one thing on his mind: “Is this my Master? If it is, will you allow me to walk on water like you did?”“. Well, Pedro could not hide his thoughts and blurted out:
“Lord, if it’s you, command me to come to you on the water“(Matthew 14:28).
The Lord Jesus, confirming His identity before the disciples, simply spoke the word that Peter would have been excited and afraid to hear: “Come“(Matthew 14:29).
And because the Lord told him to come, Peter really got out of the boat and walked on the water.. Although her experience of walking on water was short-lived because her fear caused her to sink, the truth is that she was able to walk on water.
How did that?
Friends, this scenario is not that difficult to understand. The disciples were in the middle of a wavy sea, then Jesus appears walking on the water. The disciples begin to fear for their lives, but Jesus calms them down.
Peter, however, simply refusing to calm down, asks Jesus for a test, and that test is to let him walk on the water as He did. We find some key points in the scenario where Peter walks on the water, all of them crucial to our miracle:
- Jesus has to reveal himself (he did it by walking on the water while the disciples were looking at him).
- We need to look for it (Peter did when he asked Jesus for a sign).
- We need to receive His word (that simple “come” was enough for Peter).
- And we have to walk in faith (faith allowed Peter to get out of the boat).
Friends, no matter how many prayers are made for us, no matter how many prophetic utterances are uttered, no matter how clear the instruction God gives us; we will never get to see our miracle unless we believe in it and act on our belief. We have to act in response to Christ by faith.
4 lessons from Peter walking on the water
As fishermen by trade, most of Jesus’ disciples would have grown up on the Sea of Galilee and would have known it very well. They would have had inside knowledge of all the good fishing spots, would have been familiar with Galilean weather and tidal patterns, and would have mastered the ability to navigate a small boat across the lake with some level of proficiency, or so they believed.
Despite their vocational experience, no amount of seamanship or local knowledge could have prepared any of the disciples for the handful of literal and figurative storms that threatened their lives and tested their faith. On two separate occasions, Jesus’ disciples were struck with fear when their boat was caught in a storm on the very lake they called home; and in both cases, Jesus came to their rescue.
In a story, found in Matthew 14: 28-33, Mark 6: 45-52 Y John 6: 16-24, the Twelve not only witnessed the supernatural power of Jesus Christ as he walked on the water to meet them, At night, one of their own got out of the boat to walk with Jesus on the waves. I am referring, of course, to Pedro, who became one of only two humans in history who actually walked on water.
Much has been written about this brief but iconic chapter of Jesus’ ministry. Entire sermons have been devoted to the disciples’ fear and Peter’s lack of faith, but what really happened on that stormy night and what can we learn from the story where Peter walks on the water with Jesus at the Sea of Galilee? Here are 4 lessons from history:
1. Jesus is not blind nor is he separated from our fight
In the second sea adventure that nearly sank the disciples, both literally and spiritually, Jesus sent his disciples across the lake while he went up the mountain alone to pray (Matthew 14:23). This took place after the death of John the Baptist and the feeding of the five thousand, which happened on the same day (Matthew 14, Mark 6, John 6).
Why is this important?
For despite the disciples’ general feelings of abandonment and despair, the Gospel of Matthew reminds us that Jesus “made the disciples get into the boat” and go to the other side of the lake without him (Matthew 14:22).
Did Jesus need a break from his pesky disciples? Was he trying to get rid of his often unfaithful friends? Was Jesus as adept at predicting the weather as a modern meteorologist? Did he call the storm? I would say no to all four scenarios. So why did Jesus send his disciples into a treacherous storm at the end of a long day?
What was he praying for? He may have been praying for his disciples, we don’t know. But in the midst of the storm, as the waves spilled over the sides of the disciples’ boat and the winds pushed the Twelve in every direction except the direction they wanted to go, they may have felt as if Jesus had abandoned them or completely forgotten.
The first time the disciples were caught in a storm, the Twelve turned to Jesus and asked him: “Master, don’t you mind if we drown?” (Mark 4:38) That was with Jesus in the boat. Where was Jesus when they needed him most?
Us we can also feel like this when we are stuck in the midst of life’s biggest storms or we feel like we’re starting to sink. Has God forgotten or abandoned us? Do you even care if we sink or drown? It is easy to be afraid and lose faith when we are tired, frustrated, or alone.
Yet as the disciples struggled to stay afloat, Jesus not only prayed, but watched their struggle (Mark 6:48). He never lost sight of his loved ones. More importantly, she had a plan to spare them from what probably seemed like his darkest night, and she kept his promise. Jesus knew what his disciples would find at the Sea of Galilee. He sent them anyway.
What should that tell us about our current struggles?
In one of the darkest hours in Israel’s history, the prophet Jeremiah wrote that God knows his plans for us. Are “plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future“(Jeremiah 29:11) Could it be that sometimes God’s plans for us include the storms of life? When Jesus met the disciples in the waves, he immediately said:
“Cheer up! It’s me. Do not worry” (Matthew 14:27).
Jesus was never blind nor did he walk away from the situation of his disciples. Jesus knew exactly where they were and knew when he would intervene and how he would do it. He was never far away and never took his eyes off his followers. The same is true for us today (Psalms 34:18).
2. Miracles happen when we are willing to step forward in faith.
Unfortunately for the disciples, a boat trip across the Sea of Galilee that should have taken an hour or two at most, lasted between six and twelve hours due to wind and weather. And when Jesus met them in the water, they had not even reached the middle of the lake.
Mark’s gospel even tells us that Jesus, walking on foot, may have passed the disciples in his boat (Mark 6:48). Consider that! JJesus walked faster than they rowed. The disciples had been rowing for hours and were barely getting anywhere.
Can you imagine the fatigue and frustration this trip must have caused this weary group of seasoned fishermen who could no longer rely on their strength, skill, or experience to weather this particular storm? How many times have Pedro, Andrés, Santiago and Juan found themselves in a situation on the Sea of Galilee that they couldn’t handle?
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Maybe that was the point. For hours the disciples had exhausted themselves trying to get out of the mess. Only after the arrival of Jesus did they find respite from the storm (Matthew 14:32). This is where Peter made a critical decision: continue to fight on a ship of his making or turn to Jesus for help and relief.
Peter decided that it was better to be in a storm with Jesus and continue doing things the same way without him; and by his faith, Peter walks on the waters and experiences a miracle by daring to get out of the boat and go to his lord.
Sometimes the greatest miracles in life happen when we, too, are willing to step out in faith and surrender to God’s power instead of trusting our own. God has a way of parting the waters and calming the seas when we do. As it is written:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Submit to him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:4-5).
3. Faith requires focus
Peter walks on the water thanks to the power of Christ working within him. However, Matthew writes:
“When he (Peter) saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, he cried out: ‘Lord, save me! ‘”(Matthew 14:30).
As Peter took his eyes off Jesus and focused more on the dangers around him, he began to sink. That will also happen with us. Jesus warned his disciples and future followers of the following:
“In this world you will have problems. But cheer up! Me…