"And Peter answered Him and said, 'Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.' So He said, 'Come.' And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, 'Lord, save me!' And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?' 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 14:28-33
If asked today by your pastor to step out of a boat on a storm-tossed sea and walk on water, how many of you would try it? Perhaps some would try if the weather was warm, the water was calm, and a life preserver was on, but who would try it on a stormy night with no life preserver?
Of course, if any man asked you to do such a thing, and you tried it, you could expect to sink. But if Jesus told you to come, it would be different!
When Peter was told by Jesus to come, he stepped out of the boat and, defying the laws of nature, walked on water to Jesus. He began to sink only because he took his eyes off of Jesus, looked at the boisterous wind and waves, became afraid, and began to doubt the word and power of Jesus.
Yet when he cried to the Lord Jesus for help, Jesus reached out His hand and saved him from sinking. Jesus rebuked Peter for his lack of faith, and, walking on the water, Jesus and Peter returned to the boat. When they entered the boat, the sea became calm, and they were immediately at their destination (cf. John 6:15-21), showing the truth that Jesus is the Son of God and has all authority in heaven and earth (cf. Matt. 28:18).
Jesus has not told us to walk on water, but He has commanded us to disciple all nations by going out, baptizing in the name of the Triune God, and teaching all He has commanded (Matt. 28:19-20). Jesus has all authority (v. 18), and He is with us always to the end of the age (v. 20).
In many ways, we are like those disciples in the tiny ship on the storm-tossed Sea of Galilee. The world opposes us and our message of salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (cf. Luke 24:46-48). And, we are afraid and making no headway.
But, our Lord Jesus has come to us and commanded us to step out of the safety of our little boats and walk to Him on the water. He commands us to do what seems impossible to us! How can we go to all nations and preach the Gospel to all creatures (cf. Mark 16:15)? How can we do such mission work with our limited resources?
If we do not trust the word of our Lord Jesus, or if we look at all the obstacles and opposition, we will stay in our little boats and never step out in faith and walk on the water. But if we believe that our Lord Jesus truly has all power and authority and that He is with us always, we will be willing to step out in faith and do as He has commanded us.
We will be willing to speak out for Christ and share the truths of His Word. We will be willing to give the Lord the first fruits of our earnings and trust Him to provide for all our needs (cf. 2 Cor. 9:6ff.; Prov. 3:7ff.). We and our little congregations will be willing to step out in faith and make mission work a top priority -- not something we do only if time and money are left after all else is done.
Trusting in Christ our Savior, we will step out in faith and tell others the good news that, through faith in Christ Jesus, there is complete forgiveness for all our sins and life everlasting!
Lord Jesus, grant that we trust in You and Your Word and step out in faith to spread Your saving Gospel to all who will hear. Amen.
[Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Devotion is by Randy Moll. He may be contacted by email at [email protected]. More of Moll's devotional writings are freely available at https://mercifulsaviorlutheran.net. Opinions expressed are those of the author.]