The fourth watch of the night would have occurred somewhere between 3 – 6 am. The disciples are in a boat on a wave tossed lake a good distance from the shore, (the same shore where they had left Jesus earlier), when all of a sudden, they see a figure walking toward them on the water. Matthew records that they were terrified and cried out in fear. No doubt! Can you imagine what that would have been like? But Jesus calms them and says, “Don’t be afraid; it’s me!”
I picture Peter, almost child-like, calling to Jesus, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus invites Peter to join him and Peter climbs out onto the waves, eyes locked with his Savior, and gets to participate in the miraculous. But the wind and the waves frighten him and he takes his eyes off Jesus and looks at the water and in his panic, begins to sink. Peter cries out to Jesus who immediately reaches out his hand and saves him. Jesus asks, “Why did you doubt?”
My fears can easily hold me back from experiencing all that Jesus has for me. Every single day he invites us into the miraculous. He invites us to join him in the work that he’s doing in the world around us. He invites us to get out of the safety of the boat. I can relate so much to Peter - I’ve had times of asking Jesus to let me walk on the water with him, but because of my doubts and insecurities, I’ve started to sink. I took my eyes off my Savior and allowed my situation to overwhelm me. During those times Jesus asks the same question of me, “Why did you doubt?”
Peter learned two very valuable lessons in those early morning hours. He learned that Jesus truly was the Son of God and was master over all of creation. He also learned about his own inadequacy and that what he could accomplish was directly related to keeping his eyes fixed on Jesus. The tangible lesson that Peter and the other disciples received still rings true for us today. Jesus invites us to join him, but on our own, we are severely limited. It’s only by keeping our eyes fixed securely on Jesus that we can accomplish anything of eternal significance.
Director of Small Group Ministry
New Hope Church
703.971.4673 Ex. 108