Recently the gospel reading was from St. Matthew 14 and told the story of Jesus walking on the water towards the disciples as they were sailing across Lake Galilee. It was rough and probably only half light (being early morning!). As the disciples realised it was Jesus, Peter made his astounding (or even foolhardy) request “Lord, let me walk on the water too and come to you!”. To his amazement the request was granted!
It must have been at that moment that Peter realised the enormity of what he had asked. “Jesus may be able to walk over the waves; but ME!!?” he would have thought. The Bible was so casual about Peter’s next action. It read ‘so Peter got out of the boat and began to walk towards Jesus’.
If only it had been that easy! Peter would have been terrified simply to just put his foot over the side and place it on the waves, and he probably put his foot gingerly over the side with the expectancy of sinking. To his amazement he found himself standing upright, and perhaps looking at Jesus for reassurance – and seen a beckoning hand encouraging him further.
But Peter had one more obstacle to surmount. He would have been clinging tightly to the side of the boat – his last haven of safety. It would have taken his last ounce of courage to trust Jesus and let go! Once he had taken one step away from the boat there would be nothing left but to look at Jesus.
But let go he did! Probably verrrry slowly and with the utmost terror in his heart. His friends must have gaped in astonishment as Peter began to move very slowly over the water towards his Lord (who must have looked far, far away!).
I wonder what I would have done – another doubtful Peter – in that situation? More importantly, have you ever wondered the same thing? It’s far too risky isn’t it? ‘I could never trust Jesus that much, I’m sure!’ is what most of us would say.
Yet we are no different than Simon Peter as he looked at his Messiah Lord and finally took the plunge! That’s no pun, because he nearly did when he saw the waves and took his eyes off Jesus. As he began to sink Jesus was there and saved him from a dunking. There was no condemnation, just a word of advice and encouragement, and Peter was safe again.
You know, I sometimes wonder if in some way Jesus is asking us, you and me, to let go of the boat! Have a ponder upon that and you may even be surprised!!