Get Out of the Boat
By Ron Graham
“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.
Peter has been criticized through the years because he at times showed a lack of faith. The above passage from Matthew’s Gospel is one example. Peter asked if he could join Jesus out on the Sea of Galilee. That took faith. Jesus permitted Peter to come to Him. Peter “got out of the boat” and started to walk to Jesus on the water, but then Peter took his eyes off the Lord. The scripture verse actually says “he was afraid” then he immediately began to sink. The Lord reached out and saved Peter. Then Jesus asked “why did you doubt”? The faith Peter did have was enough to at the least get him out of the boat. I wonder how many Christians today ever truly “get out of the boat”.
Faith is something all Christians claim to have, and rightly so. Peter had faith, but as Jesus said “Oh thou of little faith”. Do we have the same amount of faith Peter demonstrated when he exited that boat to stroll with Jesus on the sea? Can we honestly say yes, we have faith enough to move mountains? Faith as big as a mustard seed is all we need, according to Jesus, to move mountains. It’s not how much faith we have but where that faith is placed and in whom. That’s the key. Is our faith in Jesus, God Almighty, or is it in a nonexistent god?
Many times we try to achieve the goals of this life by placing our faith in ourselves instead of allowing Jesus to see us through the inevitability of trials. Peter wasn’t the only disciple who had a failure when it comes to faith. The disciples came to Jesus after their failure to cast out a demon from a child and asked why they were not successful. “So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20. Telling the disciples they were in unbelief was a major rebuke. Placing our faith in anything but the Son of God is not faith at all; it’s heresy.
“The eye cannot see itself. Did you ever see your own eye? In a mirror you may
have done so, but that was only a reflection of it. And you may, in like manner,
see the evidence of your faith, but you cannot look at the faith itself. Faith
looks away from itself to the object of faith, even to Christ.”
“...and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit,” 1
Corinthians 12:3b. The Holy Spirit empowers people to proclaim Jesus is the
Christ, that He is God our Messiah. The word used in the verse above for Lord in
the original Greek is “kyrios” and in Vines Expository Dictionary of the New
Testament we’re told that it is representative of the Hebrew word for Jehovah,
Adonay, and Elohiym–God. There was no doubt in Paul’s mind, as he wrote to the
Corinthians, of who he believed Jesus to be. There should be that same steadfast
assurance in all believers’ minds of exactly who Jesus is; sadly that is not the
case. Peter, as well as the other disciples, watched Jesus approach their boat
as He walked across the Sea of Galilee on the water. They all thought they were
looking at a ghost. But Jesus wasn’t a ghost and is not a ghost. He’s God and He
is Almighty, and He’s alive and dwelling with every believer on earth.
When Jesus speaks to us from the pages of our Bibles, it is God Almighty who is speaking, and that’s a fact. It all boils down to faith. Do we place our faith in a lesser Jesus than whom He said He is? Do we have faith in God’s word, believing He’s being completely truthful with us? Without complete faith and trust in God’s word, we will most assuredly come to erroneous interpretations. When that happens, we think we have correct discernment, and then we use other scripture verses to enhance our erroneous beliefs. That, my friends, will begin to take us down a very slippery slope where we begin to question God’s word. Our faith is lacking when we don’t believe God. In essence we’re calling God a liar.
Peter demonstrated extraordinary faith stepping out of that boat. We’re told Peter actually walked on water, surely a very short walk. Have you ever tried to walk on water? I have. Can you guess what happened? Yes, I got wet. Peter believed in Jesus at that very moment that he walked on water. Ultimately though, Peter had a moment of doubt, and a lack of sufficient faith, and probably he got a little wet before Jesus reached out and grabbed him. There were other times that Peter experienced doubts as he walked with Jesus but eventually he overcame those doubts to the point that he died for Christ. Dying for Jesus Christ would certainly take extraordinary faith.
We’ve all heard, I’m sure, about the young high school girl at Columbine High School who, while looking down the barrel of a gun, was asked if she was a Christian. When she responded with an affirmative answer, those satanic cowards pulled the trigger, killing her. Then they laughed about their deed. By faith, we know she’ll spend eternity with Jesus who she stood up for and we know where those murderers are spending their eternity, but the question is: Would our faith hold up while facing such a horrible situation? Presumably all she needed was to say no to their question about being a Christian and they would have left her standing there.
Each day there are many believers in every part of the world who are experiencing trials and tribulations. Jesus tells us that we will be persecuted for His name's sake. Our faith must see us through each trial, by trusting in Jesus’ strength not our own. Just knowing that Jesus is going through each and every trial with us is our comfort.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” Hebrews 11:1. Faith must be understood spiritually; there’s nothing blind about our faith in Jesus Christ. The evidence is overwhelmingly clear. It points to who Jesus was and is, where He is and even that He’ll return one day very soon.
We don’t need to be ashamed of our faith in Christ because He is risen and alive and we know that fact to be true. Faith allows the born again believer to see things spiritually, and yet, unbelievers have been rendered spiritually blind simply through their unbelief. Our faith comes to us by hearing, reading, and studying God’s perfect word.
By faith we look at the glory of God, which is all around us, and we marvel at His handiwork. Faith is our tool for reasoning out what God has for us to learn. For example, when we look to the night’s sky and soak in His majesty, those innumerable stars, the impossibility of all we observe happening by some chance explosion is evident. God gave man the intelligence to learn but faith allows us to see.
“Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith,” Habakkuk 2:4. Are you too proud to live upright and justly, incorporating faith into your everyday life? Adhering to the false premise of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps is a very proud and blasphemous attitude. Nothing is possible without God. By faith in Jesus Christ we shall see Heaven someday. By contrast, unbelief will only produce an eternity of fire and brimstone.
All we need to do is to climb out of the boat once in a while, and, as we’ve learned through Peter’s doubt, it only takes faith.
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