Walking On the Water–Did Peter Fail?

Devotional Reading—Walking On the Water—Did Peter Fail? From The Struggle of Sanctification by Sonya Johnson

The points for consideration about the Apostle Peter are from a sermon preached by Pastor D. Snell of Oakwood University SDA Church.

From reading the Scriptures, Peter was impulsive, impatient, and impetuous. Whether Jesus was telling a parable or teaching the disciples, Peter never listened with the intent to learn. The disciple who could not control his mouth was always ready to correct others and to express his opinions which impeded his ability to gain knowledge, wisdom, and an in-depth understanding of spiritual matters.

After feeding the 5,000, “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 there alone” (Matthew 14:22-23).

While Jesus was in solitude communing with God, His Father, the disciples were fearful and anxious because of the stormy sea. They attempted to maneuver the boat to safety, “But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary” (Matthew 14:24).

“Now in the fourth watch of the night [between 3 am and 6 am before sunrise], 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.'” (Matthew 14:25-27).

Although Jesus identified himself and spoke words of comfort, Peter verbalized the fearful thought in all of the disciple’s minds, “Is it really Jesus?” “And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water'” Matthew 14:28.

In His loving nature, Jesus did not rebuke Peter: “…He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus” (Matthew 14:29).

Peter’s Failure? “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!'” (Matthew 14:30).

Jesus was aware the disciples were in a fishing boat tossing back and forth in a tumultuous storm that should have made the boat sink and caused death from drowning. But these were not normal circumstances. Although Jesus was alone on the mountain, His watchful eyes were covering and protecting His beloved disciples from the catastrophic effects of the raging storm.

Back to the disciples! We understand the disciple’s minds were crippled by fear. Twelve men in a boat using their expertise, but were helpless in preventing a near-death experience. Yet, not one disciple prayed and called on the name of Jesus for help during the storm. We know this because there would have been recorded scriptures indicating they prayed for Jesus to help and save them. And if they prayed for Jesus’ help, when they saw a man walking on the water, all of the disciples would have known that it was Jesus.

Sadly, Jesus knew that His disciples did not believe that He was the Son of God–the Messiah.

When Jesus spoke the words of comfort, “Be of good cheer! It is I, do not be afraid,” the storm was in full effect. Only Peter, the reckless disciple possessed a tiny bit of faith–still, it was enough for him to get out of the boat and walk toward Jesus.

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19)

Like many of us when facing storms, in his humanness, Peter lost his focus by looking away from Jesus. We know that Jesus promised to deliver us from our troubles, but we fixate on the situation instead of faithfully believing and waiting for deliverance.

Jesus saves Peter: “And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'” (Matthew 14:31).

“Pastor Snell’s commentary: ‘When Jesus saved Peter, the storm was still raging. Jesus did not bring the boat to Himself and Peter, they walked back to the boat. The disciples in the boat never asked Jesus if they could come to them, they just sat and watched Jesus and Peter walk on the water and enter the boat. Peter had enough faith to walk side-by-side with Jesus.'”

“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'” (Matthew 32-33).

On the same day, the disciples had just witnessed one of Jesus’ greatest miracles—feeding a multitude of 5,000 plus. They were overtaken by fear when they saw a man walking on the water because of two reasons. They [secretly] held on to their former pagan belief of ghosts. And before the storm, the disciples did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God.

The reckless, impulsive disciple who could not control his emotions or his spoken words had little faith [as pointed out by Jesus]. Still, Peter had enough faith to get out of the boat to go to Jesus and walk back to the boat side-by-side with Jesus.

In Matthew chapter 16, “…Jesus asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ “So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?'” (Verses 13-15).

“Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” (Matthew 16:16)

Jesus’ Response: “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’” Matthew 16:17

Jesus changed Simon Bar-Jonah’s name to Simon Peter and blessed him because he wholeheartedly believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.

Before Jesus’ arrest leading to His crucifixion, He stated to the disciples, “Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” (John 16:24)

Where do we stand as disciples of Jesus? Are we sitting in our lifeboats with minds full of worldly beliefs that prevent us from actively acknowledging that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Do our daily prayers reflect that we are asking for faith, courage, wisdom, and the anointing of the Holy Spirit from Jesus?

Without the habit of praying for spiritual growth and a closer relationship with Jesus, we will have the mindset of the disciples–when in trouble we will not remember to pray. Our minds will be filled with fear or we will expend energy attempting to resolve life’s issues without success.

Our lifestyles reveal if we love Jesus. If we love God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds, then we faithfully serve as obedient disciples who live to do the will of God.

“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.'” (John 21:15)

Yes, Peter denied Christ three times. Still, Peter loved Jesus. It was from Jesus’ overwhelming love, grace, and mercy that Peter, the impetuous, cowardly, disciple received complete forgiveness and restoration as His disciple.

The Apostle Peter is an example of the spiritual transformation that is possible when we love Jesus and acknowledge Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords in our lives. Every day, with humble hearts on bended knees, we must proclaim, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” Hallelujah to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Amen.

Bible Study: Matthew chapter 14 and John chapter 21

Author: steps2successwithspiritualsolutions

It takes courage, perseverance, faith, and trust to serve God in today's unstable world. Yet, we are never alone. Pray daily and pray often. Study the Bible. The Scriptures are a Love Letter from God to those who accept Jesus as their personal Savior. You will receive comfort, knowledge, and wisdom. God says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." Jeremiah 31:3. Be blessed in Jesus' name. Amen.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: