“You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)
He was one of Jesus’ favorite disciples, I think. Even though John considered himself the favorite.
Prone to jumping the gun and putting his foot in his mouth, Peter’s personality often suffers our jokes and judgment. But this disciple is one of my favorites too. People like Peter encourage me.
He’s been on my mind lately. Maybe because my word this year is “faith.” Maybe because I watched a You-Tube video by Ray Vander Laan about discipleship. Or maybe because a very good friend of mine reminds me of Peter.
Now, see. . . you just thought about Peter’s mistakes– didn’t you?
But she reminds me of him because of her passion.
As we spoke on the phone the other day her voice quivered. Though I couldn’t see the tears forming in her eyes, I knew they were there.
“Andy, I just love the gospel. I can’t stop crying when I think of God’s kindness and grace.”
Her tears made me question my faith. When was the last time I felt such passion about the Good News, the grace of God through Jesus?
Our conversation continued.
“You remind me of Peter!” I said.
I could tell by her response that her mind automatically pictured his failure. “What makes you say that?” She laughed assuming the worse.
“Peter’s passion!” I explained. “He jumped out of the boat twice! He was always jumping out of the boat!
Most of us are familiar with Peter’s first overboard experience. His famous walking on water– or sinking scene. In the midst of a storm in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus met the frightened disciples tossed and turned by the waves as He strode passed them on the water. Peter cried out, “Jesus! I want to do that too!” And Jesus told him to come.
Ray Vander Laan explains that to be a disciple, to follow a rabbi, actually meant, “to become like the rabbi. . . to do everything the rabbi did.” So, when Peter saw Jesus walking on the water, he thought, “I want to do what my Rabbi can do!”
So, without a second thought, he stepped out of the boat and took a few steps. He didn’t stop to count the cost or read the instruction manual.
He sunk. But we must not forget that he actually walked on water for a little bit.
Peter jumped out of boat a second time too. It was after a long night of fish-less fishing. Nets empty. Hearts emptier because Jesus had been crucified.
Peter had heard stories that Jesus was alive, but he hadn’t seen Him yet. That morning a man on the shore called out to them and instructed the fishermen to put their nets back out into the water one more time.
The nets were filled to the brink and tore. This wasn’t the first time they’d experienced such bounty. The familiarity of the scene awakened his heart. Peter knew. The man was Jesus.
So, what did he do? He put his clothes on and jumped in the water to run, run, run to His Rabbi. The friend-Savior he denied. He could’ve rode in the boat to shore.
But with impulsive passion he swam/ran to Him, climbed up the shore dripping wet. Desperate for His Jesus.
He wasn’t afraid to be near Jesus. He didn’t swim away from Him or sit silently in the boat preparing for Jesus’ rebuke.
The boat was too slow.
He jumped out to reach Jesus as fast as He could.
I want to be like Peter. Passionate. Willing to get wet not knowing the outcome or Jesus’ response. He wasn’t afraid anymore. Peter’s love for the Messiah- Rabbi wiped away all fear to embrace Jesus.
Peter knew fear and doubt and failure, but it didn’t stop him from jumping out of the boat a second time. His love for Jesus overpowered his failure. I believe his mistakes fueled his faith.
[tweetability]Have you stepped out in faith only to sink?[/tweetability]
[tweetability]Have you stuck your foot in your mouth or promised something you simply could not keep?[/tweetability]
Jesus is standing on the shore. Let’s go swimming.
“Jesus, we want more passion. We want to be on fire for you so sure of your grace and forgiveness, so adamant in our faith, that we can no longer stay where we are. When you call, we’ll run. . . even if that means getting wet. Thank you for loving people like us prone to fumbles and fears. We want to have Peter’s passion, but Jesus, we really want to be like our Rabbi. Amen.”