Matthew 14: (26-31): And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out of fear.
(27) But straightway Jesus spoke unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; It is I; be not afraid.
(28) And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
(29) An he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
(30) But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying Lord, save me.
(31) And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
The events that transpired in this passage are a poignant and vivid depiction of stepping out on faith. When the disciples saw Christ walking upon the water, they were afraid, for they knew not who it was. Therefore, Jesus spoke unto them saying it was He, that they may not be afraid. Even still, Peter, to ascertain more certainty, spoke saying if it were Christ, bid him come unto Him. This was truly a test that would prove the figure was Christ, for in the realm of convention and rationality, it is “physically” impossible for a man to walk upon water. Therefore, if the figure bid Peter to come to it upon the sea, and Peter, in turn, did, and was made able to walk on the water and come unto it, then certainly the figure must be Christ. The figure does, and thus, Peter went. In doing so, Peter believed and, on faith, stepped onto the water and walked towards Christ. For all the time Peter embraced his faith, Peter was made able to perform the “impossible” feat of being able to walk on the water. Yet, when the winds blew, he began to sink and cried out for Christ to save him. Christ pulls him from doom and queries, ” why didst thou doubt?” This question is extremely poignant and relevant not only in that moment with Peter on the sea, but even today in our lives.
Like the disciples on the ship, we, when faced with a situation of unfamiliarity or adversity, become afraid and unsettled as a result of that the fear of uncertainty. This, despite all the time we have been with Christ, and have seen and bore witness to all the feats He has performed in our lives, causes our faith to be shaken,and we begin to, like the disciples unto the figure on the sea, question from whence it came. This is why the passage in which Christ walks upon the water is so relevant in our lives today. Peter asking the figure if it be Christ, bid him come unto Him, is representative of us asking, when we find ourselves amid turbulent and adverse times, that He affords us the strength to make it through. In doing so, we are afforded this strength, for how may we pray for it unless we believe it will be granted, and as long as we adhere to this faithful belief, we are able to withstand and bear the burden of our tribulation, just as Peter was made able to walk buoyantly upon the water as long as he sustained his faith. However, just as the boisterous wind caused fear and doubt to enter the mind of Peter, and thus, sink, so does our doubt and wavering faith that we may overcome our tribulation cause us to fall as well; sinking into despair over our adverse predicament. The wind in this passage represents doubt. For indeed is not any doubt on the subject of faith boisterous? It is only when we begin to doubt that through Him we are able to make it through, that we fall and become despondent. However, even in the midst of our doubt, Christ pulls us from the depths of our shaken faith, and questions us also as to why we doubted. This questioning is not of disappointment but rather, a reiteration of the fact, and verse in Philippians (4:13): I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Therefore, this question is Christ’s way of reminding us that, through Him, we are afforded the strength and courage to do and overcome all things, be it Peter walking on water or us overcoming our tribulations; therefore, what may we doubt?
Overcoming and performing feats that, in the realm of “common sense” or convention, are impossible, is one of the most intrinsic and basic tenets of faith. The greater or more difficult the obstacle we overcome, or the further beyond the realm of normality the feat we are made to bear witness to, the greater and more strengthened our faith becomes. Which revisits the asking of Christ, ” O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” With all we have studied, been taught and have bore witness to as it relates to the power of Christ, should not our faith be greater and ever more abundant? However, when our minds and thoughts bend from our belief in the power of Christ, to the trivial realm of convention, do not we give credibility to the fact that perhaps the opposite is true? For indeed, water is without firmament and thus, a rather daunting and seemingly impossible medium upon which to walk. However, our faith in the power of Christ, gives us the power to walk straightly and without waver over that which is unstable. We, as Christians, should be at the point where or faith is no longer shaken or able to be subdued or infringed upon by even the slightest hint of doubt. Only then shall we be made able to overcome and do the impossible things in our lives and, as represented in that passage, walk on water.