Prayer 556 - Week 4, Wednesday
Wednesday - Walk on the Water
If you hadn’t guessed, we’re reading the passage today about Jesus, and Peter, walking on water. You’ve probably heard the story a million times. So slow down and really think through it as you read - imagine yourself in the situation, who do you relate the most to?
Matthew 14:22-33 (MSG)
As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.
Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.
But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come ahead.”
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”
Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”
The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, “This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!”
As you look over your life, are you a risk-taker or do you seek security? How do you think that effects your spiritual life?
As you read this passage, do you think you would be Peter jumping out to walk on the water or do you think you would be one of the 11 who remained in the boat?
God would never push us out of the boat, but he is often calling us out of it.
What is the boldest thing you’ve ever done as you follow Jesus?
How would you define a “step of faith”? What bold step of faith might God be calling you to right now?
Even though the disciples had just watched Jesus feed the 5,000 they were still panicked about the storm they were caught in, and didn’t immediately recognize him.
What storms are you facing right now? How might it help to fix your eyes on Jesus as a way to gain perspective?
**NOTE: For most of my life I read this story and heard Jesus speaking to Peter with a tone of frustration. “Geez, Peter, you really have that little faith?” But I once heard someone else read the passage aloud and they spoke Jesus’ part with such care. The Message translation above really changes the way I read the tone of Jesus’ words. It makes me realize that, because I am often hard on myself, I assign that type of attitude to Jesus and expect him to be hard on me. But he’s not. The passage says that Jesus doesn’t hesitate to help Peter. I don’t know if this rings true for anyone else, but it was a profound shift for me. Peter jumped out of the boat, walked on water, and yes, lost his focus. But Jesus doesn’t let him drown. He picks him up with love and let’s him try again**
Oh merciful God, grant that I may
and bring to perfect completion
whatever is pleasing to You
for the praise and glory of Your name.
Put my life in good order, O my God.
Grant that I may know
what You require me to do.
May I not rejoice in anything
unless it leads me to You;
may I not be saddened by anything
unless it turns me from You.
- Thomas Aquinas 1270 (Shortened)
I love my Jonah boy! It is great to hear him “jumping out of the boat” in science class. While he was looking for a laugh, there is no doubt that he is a Jesus Follower. I also love Kaitlyn’s point about Jesus not scolding Peter, but rather being right there to rescue him. Jesus calls us to follow Him and accepting that call in and of itself is risk taking. Having said that, I am struggling to be honest with how ready I am to take risks for Jesus. We had opportunities to minister in places other than Cohoes, but we never chose to leave. Another long time pastor, my friend Harry Heintz guided me by saying, “ You know you were called to Cohoes. Do not leave until you know He is calling you elsewhere .” Looking back over my life, I believe that was the right decision. In like manner, it was a big step to take off the mantle of leadership and give it to Kaitlyn. Again, I see the Lord’s Hand leading. Now, today, I see God’s Hand leading me as I learn to adjust to online ministry. I am certainly “out of the boat”, but I hear His voice calling. I want to be obedient to His call wherever and whenever He leads. I don’t see myself as a big risk taker, but I so want to be in the center of His will. Guide me Lord by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I had not finished my comments and I’m not sure if it recorded, but I will try to continue from the beginning. I think I am a jumper rather than analyzing the situation, especially if I feel God is leading me to do something. I was at UCC about 16 years in 2000, when I felt I heard the Lord telling me to leave you CC. It was during a church service, and I felt I heard the Lord telling me to take up my Bible and leave. I did not know where he was taking me, but I have always felt that if the Lord was telling you something to act on it. I left UCC and began looking for a new church, sure that the Lord was leading me away for a particular reason which I was not sure what that reason was. I was at another church for 20 years, and when the pandemic struck but I wanted to go back to church, the Lord lead me back to UCC because masks were being worn during the service, where they were not necessarily being worn out my current church. It only took me a short while to feel that the Lord was leading me back to UCC. I do not know why The Lord compelled me to leave the first time, nor why he was now bringing me back to UCC, But I was always taught to trust what the Lord was leading me to do. Lord, Trusted in what you were telling me to do. I know that I do not necessarily need to know why, but I trust that You used those 20 years to teach me. I want to always be quick to follow what I feel are your commands for me and for my life.
I smile thinking of Jonah sharing that joke in class!!! I too have always read this passage with a tone of frustration from Jesus “oh ye of little faith” kind of vibe but reading it this way does shift it for me, more of a gentle “tell me what happened let’s talk about it, know that I’m here for you vibe” I feel like for me if I literally saw Jesus physically with my eyes I would jump out of that boat and run to him on that water but it is other aspects of my life that I have to do the believing when seeing and still jump out on my boat! In my hardest times in my life I absolutely put my faith in Jesus and it’s the only way I continue to walk forward! I think it’s more the day to day that I have to focus on, whether it’s joining a new group or having faith in a situation and not trying to control it so much is where I struggle, when it’s not a clear disaster, because that I easily handover, it’s more of the simple day-to-day choices that I need to continue to really walk towards him and let him guide me! ♥️
You were right; it was hard not to skim this story, especially in this version--I had to stop and go back at least three times to really focus!
But when I did, I noticed the same thing--Jesus immediately rescued Peter. He knew that Peter wouldn't be able to sustain the walk but I think really loved that he tried it. I absolutely feel like this has been my experience in so many times of life! I've jumped out of numerous boats (although some of them were on fire... different story). Jesus hasn't let me sink yet, but the fear is real.
As for how this has affected my spiritual life-- for the longest time I would have described myself as fearless, but it seems that the effects of aging and quarantine have affected my daily walk more than my jumping off personality. This is why I've had to pray for imagination recently, and I do feel that God is answering this prayer. We'll see what happens when I get past this "jet lagged" daylight savings time week!
Normally I am such a low risk taker that I probably wouldn't have got in the boat in the first place. But times that I have ventured out onto the streets of the city to reach out to others, it has been with others alongside me.. So the fellowship of others increased my risk level.
"Wouldn't have gotten into the boat in the first place"
I've only thought about Jesus as loving. Like us, yes he got angry. I see Him as picking me up and brushing me off and telling me to try again. I'm not much of a risk taker. I do like security. I jumped out of the boat by saying yes to a second marriage after the first one was so abusive. It seems almost daily the Lord has to correct and hold me as I have high expectations for marriage. So I do need to step out of the boat and walk toward Him daily keeping my ficus on Him. Doug and I have two or three prophecies that God has told us to get out of the boat. Waiting to see just what that means. I pray for a stronger trust and stronger faith in my Lord.
I am usually a jumper, but with thought! I've always been a planner, and growing up I was a follower who usually became a leader. So, if Jesus told me and the other disciples to get in the boat, I would be the one making the list of everything we needed to get to the other side and asking each of the other disciples what they are bringing. In my life, I've jumped many times, but always with my checklist. And, I'm hearing whispers from God that I need to prepare to jump again, and I feel like I'm waiting for Jesus to appear and tell me when to jump! Kaitlyn, I like your admission of interpreting the tone of Jesus. I, too, have always been one to hear him scold me, definitely because my experience growing up Catholic is that we're always sinning and always needing to repent; always echoed by my father. And then you shared the beautiful prayer ... God tells us how to live our faith, ardently, prudently, recognizant, in Praise and Glory to God. He will help me to put my life in order, and he's brought me to all of you to give me the confidence to see Him in my daily walk. With Him, I can be prepared to jump when Jesus shows up. Amen!