And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?Matthew 14:28-31
As we saw yesterday, only God is able to walk upon calm waters, much less stormy seas like are happening here. The disciples should have known that it was Jesus. Further, Jesus tells them that it was Him! But Peter answers…
I am not sure what is going with Peter in this scene but he clearly is not acting faithfully nor logically in asking this question. For whatever “reason,” Peter asks to walk out on the water to Jesus. Even though this is actually still doubting, Jesus grants his request. So, Peter walks on the stormy sea as well.
It doesn’t take very long to see that Peter wasn’t focused enough on Jesus. He sees the dangerous waves again and begins to sink.
Now, let’s pause for a second for a simple question: Have you ever begun to sink? I know that I am either floating because I am swimming or I am instantly below the water. But Matthew records that Peter began to sink. This means that, even though Peter had been impetuous in his request to walk on water and is doubting once again, Jesus slows down the law of gravity to give Peter an opportunity to cry out for help.
What loving mercy!
I have no doubt that the Lord bids His people to walk through stormy seas with Him and keeps them safe. I do not question that. However, I think this is recorded for us to see that even when we are not acting faithfully but presumptuously, Jesus is still a compassionate Savior.
This case proves that we should never boast about our faith or works that we have done as a disciple. Even at our best times, we must admit that we are weak and need our Savior.
I want you to also notice what Jesus does next. He rebukes Peter for his doubting. Modern “churches” avoid talking about specific sin and the need to repent of it. Jesus did not do this. Jesus showed compassion and made Peter safe, then He taught him that he should do better next time.
Unfortunately, a false gospel is propagated under the guise of Christianity. It tries to scare people into obedience with threats of eternal damnation. Jesus does not do this so the gospel should not be presented this way either. The gospel is the good news of the finished work of Jesus Christ. It declares what Jesus did for the sinner. It is a joyous message of comfort. But the work of the church does not stop there. The church is to make disciples. This means it is to teach people how to live like Christ. This includes being faithful and not doubting.
This is not an isolated case where Jesus calls for repentance. Consider:
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.John 8:10-11
Jesus forgives the woman of the act of adultery but He doesn’t let her continue in the sin. He specifically says, “Don’t do it anymore!”