Stepping off the Boat

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Matthew 14:25-32

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Our devotion for today is taken from Matthew chapter 14 we begin reading with verse 25.

In the fourth watch of the night, Jesus came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified and cried out in fear, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus spoke to them at once, saying, “Take heart! It is I! Do not be afraid.” Peter answered him and said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “Come!” Peter stepped down from the boat, walked on the water, and went toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind, he was afraid. As he began to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand, took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. (Matthew 14:25-32)

I always wonder what was that first step like for Peter when he stepped out of the boat? How firmly did he put his foot down into the water? What was that like? What level of confidence did he have when Jesus had invited him to get out of the boat? What boldness did he have those first couple of steps? The context here of the story is very important. It follows right on the heels of Jesus feeding the 5000 with just a little bit of food. So Peter has just witnessed this tremendous miracle from Jesus demonstrating that he is the Son of God. Demonstrating his divine power even over the laws of nature.

Nothing is impossible with God, the Bible tells us. So initially Peter trust Jesus words When Jesus tells him to come out on the water. He places his confidence in that promise from Jesus and that provides a wonderful example for us for our faith as well. But then notice as soon as the wave begins to rise, as soon as there appears to be a little more agitation in the water, Peter’s own logic begins to override the promise he has from Jesus. He begins to look at it from the perspective of his reason and he starts to realize this is ridiculous, that I would be able to walk on water. And he begins to doubt more and more. Jesus then permits him to sink.

And the same thing happens to us when it comes to the promises of God. We are often tempted to think that we know better than what God might tell us. We’re tempted to let our reason, our rational thought, our logic override the very promises that God often gives to us.

There are two different forms of questioning when it comes to our faith. One that is good and godly and the other that is sinful and evil. The good and godly or divine type of questioning is when the Holy Spirit stirs up questions in us to maybe drive us back to God’s Word to learn more about it, to better understand it. But the evil sinful type of questioning is when we doubt God and His Word, when we push that Word away, when we deny God’s truth, or even maybe God’s very existence.

Notice Jesus says to Peter he doesn’t say “Oh, you of no faith.” He says “Why did you doubt Oh you of little faith?” That’s important to understand that even the smallest faith that trusts in Christ in His Word is still a saving faith. At the same time God wants us to expand that into a strong and firm and confident faith. But how wonderful that even a small and weak and struggling faith still possesses everything that Christ has done for us. Let’s have a prayer as we close.

Lord I believe, help though my unbelief. Amen.