At once after feeding five thousand men, Jesus asked his disciples to go to the other side. Probably Jesus did not want his disciples to get carried away by the applause of the beneficiaries of the miracle. Jesus decided to spend some quiet time with His Father and went up the mountainside. Shortly before dawn He decided to join his disciples who were sailing. While they saw Jesus walking on the water they took Him for a ghost. But Jesus comforted them by saying “It is I” and asked them not to be afraid. This signifies the level of faith of his disciples.
“And the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it” (Mathew 14:24) .
When everyone was quiet, Peter raised a question. “If it is you; tell me to come to you in water”. First of all Peter was unable to recognize His master when He told that “It is I”. It was a kind of self-introduction within a well-known crowd. It was a two way relation. Here Peter found it difficult to recognise Jesus. Even before ascertaining that it was Jesus, he sprung into action. This resulted in absolute failure. He was unable to reach Jesus, but Jesus reached out his hand to grab him.
Application of Peter’s reaction in our lives
This is the sad plight of some believers. They believe in Jesus; at the same time they are unable to recognise Him. This may be due to two reasons. One may be lack of acquaintance and the other may be lack of attention when acquainted. Lack of acquaintance is due to less or no reading of Bible. The more we desire to know Him and love Him; more we will read the Bible and meditate upon it. Most of the time we need quick solution to our problem. We can spend more hours for waiting to meet a doctor. But we do not have time to read the Bible. Hence, we acquire little knowledge of Bible mainly through hearing. It is true that initially faith comes through hearing but it should not stop our quest to read the Bible. The more we dwell in the word of the Lord, the greater will be our acquaintance with Him. Bible is the place where we can meet Jesus Christ. It is there, we can feel His love and protection. The more we read the Bible the more we can recognise Him. A hush of the Holy Spirit or a whisper of our master, during our problem can be clearly heard and received, only if we are familiar with His words.
The second category is of people who are well-acquainted but are not able to recognise Him. It is contradictory here, because acquaintance itself is recognition. In spite of well-recognition people of this category need some identity as people of God. The disciples who wanted to sit next to Jesus in His Kingdom are the right example for this category. Pride and prejudice blinded their eyes from seeing Jesus, whom they knew. Peter wanted to outshine other disciples who were in fear. Peter needed an identity as a dedicated follower of Christ. When we are predominating, we cannot recognise the hush of the Holy Spirit or a whisper of our master even amidst pin drop silence.
Fall of Peter
The scripture does not say that Peter started drowning at once after he stepped out of the boat. Instead it says, Peter walked on water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind he was afraid and beginning to sink, cried out Lord save me. A decision taken by an emotionally charged situation will not last long. If it is so, thousands of people who have been accepting Christ in each crusade would have outnumbered the existing Christian community. In a believer’s life, faith should be accomplished gradually through personal experience. The more we understand the love of God, more our faith will be rooted deep in our hearts. The winds refers to the challenges coming against our faith. Unless and until our faith is deeply rooted, the winds will blow it away. Peter is the right example for this. Peter saw the wind and a professional fishermen can understand the fury of wind better than any other man. As soon as Peter relied on his professional knowledge, fear got in to his mind. Depending on our capability during our difficult time causes disaster.
Abraham did not analyse his physical condition but believed on the promise of God. Promise of God comes to mankind not because of their worthiness but purely by God’s grace. But we often forget His grace and try to fit us beyond grace saying that we are worthy to be blessed by God. When Peter saw the wind he was afraid and began to sink. But Jesus stretched out His hand as an answer to his prayer “Lord, save me”. Whatever may be our situation, if we call upon Him, He will answer us (Jeremiah 33:3). Since then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the son of God let us hold fast to our confession for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness but have one who in every aspect has been tempted as we are and yet is without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need (Hebrews 4:14-15). The author of Hebrew is rightly prompting us to find grace setting aside all other things. At last Peter did find grace and Jesus caught hold of him and asked why do you doubt? His grace is assured for all of us.
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10)