Walking the Rope Bridge

Matthew 14:15-32

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I remember hearing an illustration a few years ago that I’ve always liked. Imagine a rope bridge if you’ve ever seen a rope bridge where you could walk across on little boards that are all connected by a rope across a big deep ravine. And let’s say that right next to that, it’s a brand new rope bridge, right next to it is a sign from the Army Corps of Engineers that says that this bridge was just put up and it can hold up to five tons of weight. Imagine a man seeing that sign and getting down on his knees and gently beginning to creep across that bridge. And all of a sudden behind him about 10 school children come out, read the sign, and just run across the bridge all the way without any questions.

That first man on his knees is kind of representative of how I sometimes am about the promises of God. We want to trust them but we’re still kind of skeptical. We’re still unsure at times.

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 14:15-31)

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. Am I really forgiven of all my sins because of what Jesus has done? Is my body really going to rise again from the dead? Is there really a heaven waiting for me after this life? God has given us very sure promises. In fact, he basically says I won’t lie to you because I’m God. God cannot lie because that would make him unholy. And that’s one of his great divine attributes and characteristics.

And yet sometimes we’re tempted to be very timid in our trust in the Word of God. Listen to what the Bible says.

God is not a man that he should lie nor, a son of man that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act. Does he promise and not fulfill notice.

Jesus says to Peter, he doesn’t say, Oh you have 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 thou my unbelief. Amen.