I think Peter has gotten a bad rap.
Since childhood I’ve been told the story of Jesus walking on the water and how Peter was brash, overreactive, spoke without thinking, took a risk and then failed miserably because he’s such a loser-he took his eyes off of Jesus (because no one has ever done that!). Jesus is the hero; Peter is a zero.
Wrong (about Peter – Jesus really is a hero).
If you don’t know the story, it’s in Matthew 14. Here’s the Readers’ Digest version: Disciples are on a boat. Strong wind and waves. Jesus walks to them, on the water. They think He’s a ghost. He’s not. Peter wants to walk on the water too. Jesus says, “Come on!” Peter does. But then looks at waves, gets scared, and sinks. Jesus pulls him up.
Of the twelve disciples in the boat that day, I’d rather be Peter than any of others. If anyone deserves to be discounted, it’s the other 11. Not Peter.
While it’s true that Jesus asked Peter why he doubted, consider:
- 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water; ONE wanted to do it bad enough to ask.
- 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water; ONE had enough faith to get out of the boat.
- 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water; ONE had the initiative to get out of the boat.
- 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water, only ONE other, in all of human existence, actually did walk on the water.
- 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water, ONE tried, succeeded, and then failed.
- 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water; ELEVEN failed even to try.
- 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water; ONE was motivated by faith, we can only surmise that 11 were motivated by fear.
- 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water; Only ONE learned first-hand what it means to take his eyes off Jesus, sink, and have Jesus pull him right back up!
- 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water; ONE stands out for his faith.
- 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water; ONE got to (and this is the best part) walk on the water with Jesus.
Peter got to do something that nobody else has ever done! He got to experience what no one else has ever experienced! And he got to do it with Jesus. Why? Because Peter did what nobody else on that boat would do.
If you want to experience God in a way you never have before,
do something you’ve never done before.
William Carey said, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” That’s Peter. And that could be you too.
It’s much much better to attempt something wonderful for God and fail, then be a smashing success at doing absolutely nothing.
Some of you have tried something wonderful for Jesus and you think you’ve failed. You may be heartbroken. But instead, take heart! In God’s economy – you have won…because you got out of the boat and tried for Jesus, while thousands of others sat quietly on their posterior in the security of the stern.
God is calling all of us to reject security. Step onto the water. That’s where you see Jesus at work. That’s where you experience Jesus at work. Win, lose or draw – it’s always a win…when you take a step of faith for Jesus.
It’s time to get out of the boat and attempt something wonderful for God.
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