Second Thoughts, On the Water

Have you ever walked on water? What happened when Peter did? And what do we learn from his steps?

“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?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God” (Matt. 14:30-33).

I do not believe that I would have behaved, believed, or fumbled about any differently than our apostles presence of Yeshua, face to face. It seems arrogant to believe that if any of us had been alive, and then called by Him, that we would have achieved some measure of understanding missed by the original twelve apostles.

Just prior to Peter walking on water, the apostles witnessed the feeding of the 5,000. Yeshua/Jesus then sent them ahead, to cross the Sea of Galilee as a storm begins to churn the waters. When Yeshua sends them ahead, it’s as if He is saying, “You go ahead, I’ll catch up,” but they were not considering just how He would meet them.

Then, at the 4th watch – 3am to 6am – Yeshua comes walking upon the sea. Hours earlier the disciples took part in distributing food and gathering the leftovers from the masses of people Jesus fed with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Now, seeing Yeshua walking upon the water, they assume it is His ghost, in order words, He is dead.

In Matthew 14:27, Yeshua says, “Take courage, it’s Me. Do not be afraid.” What is He saying? Literally, “Comfort. εἰμί/eimi, I Am. Do not fear.” Yeshua the Comforter of Isaiah 40:1, He is alive, not dead; so what do we have to fear?

Peter brashly tests Yeshua, “If it really is you, command me to come to You on the water.” The Greek in Matthew 14:29 is more picturesque than is depicted in English, at the command of Yeshua he climbed out of the boat, he did not just get out, it took a moment, there was hesitation.

He steps on to the water.

The “I Am” having commanded Peter, did for Peter, just what He had done for the children of Israel at the Red Sea (Ex. 15:8), as the waters congealed and allowed Israel to walk through their midst on dry ground. Now, Peter steps upon waters congealing beneath his feet as he walks to Yeshua.

Peter, stepping out and taking more steps on water than any of us, before or since, sees the circumstance that he has stepped into, no longer in the relative safety of the boat that he knows how to expertly control, he looks away from Yeshua, and His command, and begins to sink. He calls out the shortest and most to the point prayer, “Lord, save me!” Anything more than this, and he would have been gargling.

Yeshua immediately reaches out, pulls him up, rescues him, then corrects, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

“O you of little faith,” ὀλιγόπιστος/oligopistos, “little faith,” meaning “short duration faith.” “Could you only believe for such a short time?”

Yeshua gets to the heart of the matter, “why did you doubt?” Doubt: διστάζω/distazō, doubt, meaning to “duplicate.” Yeshua is asking, “Why did you second guess?” This is the same word in Matthew 28:17, when the disciples saw Yeshua on the mountain in the Galilee, worshipped Him, but second guessed, doubted, the resurrection – “Is He really standing here?”

In this miraculous scene, as Yeshua rescues Peter, there is no fiery chariot of Elijah, or angels swooping in to take them back to the boat: they walked. Getting back into the boat, the winds ceased.

Yeshua, with the storm coming, sent them ahead knowing that once they saw Him, Peter would attempt to rush boldly into the circumstance, only to be frightened by it, and need His rescue. He knows us, as He is the Good Shepherd.

Peter sank because once out in the elements of life, outside of his control, the winds pressed in on him, the waves soaked him, and Yeshua seemed much further away.

The Lord called Peter, and us, to Himself, not the circumstance. Not to the wind and the waves. Not to the choppy waters of life, but to Himself. Yet, we will not overcome this world unless we sink a little, and learn to cry out, “Lord save me!”

Peter had faith to step out of the boat, onto the water, but it was short lived because he second guessed the call and command of Yeshua. He began to rethink the boat, the storm, and the Lord standing upon water. Yeshua never calls us to the storm, or the unknown, but to Himself. At times, we must go through the storm, the wind and the waves, into the unknown in order to reach Him. Nevertheless, He is always the direction and destination.

Do not second guess His call. Do not second guess the call of the I AM. Go to Him in the midst of the storm and the circumstance, seeing that He has done and will continue to do the impossible.

Peter’s faith was short in duration, because he rethought the Word of God. Even then, the Lord rescued him when he cried out, “Lord, save me!” A short, concise, prayer resulting in the nail scarred hand of the Messiah reaching directly to where we are calling to Him.

Be well. Shalom.