Peter takes a risk.
He gets scared by the wind and that is what we remember and that is what we make fun of him for, but lets give credit where credit is due: Peter takes a risk.
And that is not easy. In fact, it is the very definition of risk -- doing something that is not easy where the outcome is less than certain.
The disciples are in a boat and after being battered about by the waves they have drifted far away from the shore. So Jesus comes out to them, walking on the water to do so. It is a spectacular scene. One that reminds us that Jesus really does come and find us just as we are, which is a miracle in its own regard.
Jesus speaks to the distress disciples (who have mistaken him for a ghost) and says, "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid."
Then Peter, blessed impetuous Peter, responds, "Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." And Jesus does. And Peter steps out of the boat and if you read really closely you'll see that Peter in fact walks on the water too.
Even if only for a moment, even if only until the wind kicks up and Peter gets scared and then he starts sinking and needs saving all over again from Jesus his Lord.
But Peter takes a risk. He trusts that Jesus is who he says that he is. He believes that he too can follow, and he has faith that Jesus will empower him to do something that he couldn't ordinarily do by himself.
Which sounds like the challenge of faith, doesn't it? That we are challenged to trust that Jesus is how he says he is, to believe that we too can follow him, and to have the faith that Jesus will empower us to do things that we simply couldn't do ordinarily on our own.
Faith, it turns out, is risky business. And that is what we'll be talking about this coming Sunday in worship. Step on out of the boat, come encounter the living Christ, and worship with us this Sunday at FCC Scottsdale.
Matthew 14:22-33 Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them.
25 And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’
28 Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’
29 He said, ‘Come.’
So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’
31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’