The disciples entered the boat and began sailing to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 14:22). As common in this part of the world, a strong storm suddenly came upon the boat and began lashing the crew with waves of water. It was early morning and the wind was quite contrary and the disciples struggled to keep their course. They had traveled about three or four miles (John 6:19) when through the wind whipped sea of foam the men saw an apparition that terrified them. "But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.' And Peter answered Him and said, 'Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.' So He said, 'Come.' And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus" (Matthew 14:27-29).
Much is said about Peter's lack of faith in the next few verses when he became afraid and beginning to sink, crying out for the Lord to save him. An equal amount of purpose should be given to the incredible focus he had to even attempt to step out of the boat. The first reaction of the disciples was pure terror at the image of the Lord coming (Matthew 14:26). They could not imagine what spirit would be walking on the water toward them. Peter's first response was like the other disciples.
Something amazing happened in the mind of Peter upon the Lord's assurance to be of good cheer and fear not. Peter immediately recognized the situation for what it was. He was witnessing the awesome power of God and he wanted to be a part of it. "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water" (Matthew 14:28). Peter possessed something none of the other disciples had - wonder working faith. No other disciple offered to step out of the boat. Peter did and he meant to follow through. This was not idle request.
Peter had focus. He could see through the impossible and believe in the impossible. Gabriel told Mary, "With God nothing will be impossible" (Luke 1:37). Mary believed in the impossible because she had a single focus upon the power and will of God. When the disciple of the Lord sought permission to walk on water he asked for the power of God. Jesus said, "Come" (Matthew 14:29). What was Peter to do now? Was it only a hesitant plea of courage that caused him to ask? Would he dare move to the side of the boat and put his leg over? Could he believe to do the impossible and walk on water? Peter had focus.
He moved to the side of the boat. The other disciples watched in shock and dismay and disbelief as Peter made his way over the side. To their wondering eyes Peter did not sink. To the courageous faith of Peter he was walking on water. The fisherman was now walking on water. He had focus. He had purpose. He had the power of God doing the impossible in his life. Jesus called Peter by the name Simon Bar-Jonah in Matthew 16:17. How fitting one surnamed the son of Jonah was now walking on water.
Peter had focus. Imagine what you and I can do with the focus that took Peter out of the boat and on to the water. Would we be among the disciples who remained in the boat with little faith and little courage to expect the impossible? Can we have the focus that Peter had in the Lord to do the impossible? "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). It takes focus. It takes courage. It takes stepping out of the boat of doubt and laziness and walking on water. Keep your eyes on Jesus!
By Kent Heaton
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