“I wonder where Jesus is?”
I thought to myself as I tried to hold the oar steady against the beating waves. It was unusually rough and we were all working to stay afloat. The waves created additional turmoil in my mind. Our brother, John the Baptist, was just beheaded and it rested heavily on my heart. I wondered if my fate would be the same as his?
My mind drifted to the hillside earlier in the day.
I still can’t understand how the baskets never emptied. It was only five loaves of bread and two fish; I counted them myself. I stood there and watched as we handed out the bread, but every time I looked back, my basket was full. There must have been five thousand people there.
“Peter keep up,” James yelled.
My mind has a tendency to wander as I consider these things I’m seeing. Sometimes it is in amazement, but other times, I wander in doubt. Since I have decided to follow Jesus, I can’t explain the things I’m feeling, not to mention the miracles I see before me. Yet, despite seeing it all with my own eyes, I still can’t comprehend it all. The Son of God?
It is an inexpressible and glorious joy. The stories seem, somehow, cleverly invented, but I’m watching them with my own two eyes. Would my eyes deceive me?
About that time, the figure of a man appeared just off the stern. Terror swept over me as we were miles from shore. I tightened my gaze as I heard some of the others yell, “It’s a ghost.”
As the figure came into focus, I saw it wasn’t a ghost, it was Jesus.
My eyes widened and I felt my entire body ignite with a chill. He was walking on the water.
He spoke, “Take courage! It is I! Don’t be afraid.”
I hardly considered His words as I replied, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Excitement flooded my veins as I considered the possibility. The feeling was indescribable and I couldn’t consider anything else in that moment.
“Come,” he said.
As I accepted his invitation, my eyes were fixated on my Lord. I didn’t even notice when my foot touched, as if I were walking on air. I was so encompassed by his presence as he held my gaze. He had this way about him. It was a welcoming solemnity that I couldn’t explain; a smile even.
About that time, a gust of wind rushed in as I felt a wave lap against my leg. I came to my senses and quickly turned my gaze back on the boat. My eleven brothers were staring at me. Just a moment ago, time seemed to stand still, but now, I felt it speed up. I was a good distance from the boat and the intensity of the wind rushed over me. Suddenly, fear gripped my legs as if it were pulling me down. I felt myself fall into the darkness; I was sinking. As waves began to overtake me, I cried out, “Lord, save me!”
In that moment, a hand reached down towards me just before I went under. It was Jesus. My eyes fixed on his as he looked at me and said:
“You of little faith. Why did you doubt?”
I felt called to rewrite Matthew 14 from Peter’s perspective this morning.
From time to time, I feel like the Word of God, is difficult to grasp. Placing myself in the story, as if I were Peter, helped me gain perspective. I hope it does the same for you.
Too often, like Peter, I find myself of little faith, battling the truth of the gospel and the promises God’s word contains.
Peter was a fisherman, a man just like you and I. To me, that’s the beauty of God’s story. He uses fisherman and tax collectors; he chooses to use us. I would venture to say that he doesn’t need us, but he invites us.
He asks us to have faith.
I rest in his words from Matthew 14 today.
“Take courage! It is I! Don’t be afraid” (vs. 27) “Come” (vs. 29)
QUESTION: What fears are holding you back?
CHALLENGE: Write down your fear as a way to call it out.