- 22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 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. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea,[a] tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind wasboisterous,[b] he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
33 Then those who were in the boat came and[c] worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
When Peter stepped out of the boat he was acting in faith. He trusted the Lord to sustain him and keep him from harm. His past experience of Jesus’ power and authority convinced him that it was a reason-able thing to do. When he was surrounded by the strong waves and felt the power of the wind, however, he grew fearful and began to sink. In his mind, the storm seemed more powerful than the Lord.
This is frequently our experience too. The turmoil and trials of our lives often prevent us from following the Lord in faith. We may not even be aware of the things which influence our thinking but which nonetheless control our actions at times. Even though our great desire may be to put our faith in Jesus, the thoughts in our minds and our memories from years past can be like the strong wind and the waves which cause us to lose faith and sink just as Peter did.
When the Lord tells us to come to him, as he did to Peter, we may sincerely wish to obey. We may even try to do so. But all too often, our faith wanes, as Peter’s did, because of the thoughts and memories that overwhelm us. For example, we may wish to forgive someone, but the memories of how we have been hurt by them in the past prevent us from doing so. Or we may know that God wants us to pray, but thoughts of doing something more “urgent” keep us from praying. The demands of the world seem more urgent to us than our commitment to pray and worship God.
At such times, we need Jesus to reach out his hand and catch us. Call out to him; God’s desire is to help us. He wants to heal our memories and our thought patterns so that we do not expend all our mental energy fighting these distractions. Jesus wants to heal us so that we can proclaim to the world: “Truly you are the Son of God.”