Matt 14:27-32 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” ESV
One of the most important lesson’s Jesus taught me through this event is that He knows and understands our weaknesses. He understands our lack of faith and is constantly working in our lives to build it up. If we look back at all the miracles and examples of Jesus’ faithfulness, it is no wonder He questioned His disciples.
Matt 14:31 … “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” ESV
But just as importantly note what He didn’t say. He didn’t say, Peter, why don’t you have faith in me? He challenged Peter’s “little” faith. Peter started out in faith (in the spirit) but ended up in the flesh. It wasn’t that he didn’t have faith, it was just that he had so little. It’s almost as if Jesus had said, “Peter, after all you have seen, why did you let your faith depart from you? Did you think that I would have asked you to do something I knew you wouldn’t be able to?”
I have to admit that I have had my moments walking on the boiling seas of this world and, just like Peter, I took my eyes off of Jesus and promptly sank in my unbelief. It’s in those times that I’m reminded of a verse from Paul’s letter to the Hebrews:
Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. ESV
In the end that’s what it’s all about. We come to Jesus for salvation by faith and from that moment forward we depend on Him for our very breath with the same faith. Are we going to fall and fail Him at critical moments? Yes, because we struggle every day with that part of us that has not been renewed (our flesh). That is the encouragement Peter gives us during this brief moment in history. What Jesus did for Peter He will do for each one of us.
Our part is not to be just a follower but a disciple. One who keeps his eyes firmly fixed on The Savior at all times, ready to act at the sound of His voice. When He says, “come,” we need to step out in faith, knowing that what He has done before He will do again. He is ever faithful and will never ask us to do anything that we can’t accomplish in Him. If there is one thing I have learned, and learned well over the years, is that I need His help every minute of the day to follow after Him.
After all of the miracles I have witnessed in my lifetime I should be as strong as Abraham. But, alas, I am often like the father of the demon-possessed child:
Mark 9:23-24 And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” ESV
In a moment of crisis, I still sometimes find myself crying out as I begin to sink into the circumstances — Lord I believe, help my unbelief. Like the broken-hearted father, we just need to hear what Jesus is saying. He will furnish the power if we have the faith to receive it. Jesus is more than able and completely willing to meet our need if we will just believe that He can.