22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25 And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” 28 Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
This section of scripture immediately follows the news Jesus receives about the death of John the Baptist. Dealing with death is always challenging and losing someone give one a sense of emptiness. Jesus needed some alone time so Jesus left everyone to be by Himself. As Jesus leaves, Jesus makes the disciples get into their fishing boat and set sail.
The Sea of Galilee is really a large Lake shaped like a harp. It is small enough that when one gets out to the middle one can pan to the whole shoreline. All 360 degrees. It is an amazing place where peace and fear can come quickly. The Sea can be calm and the water looks like glass. The land surrounding it makes the Lake look like it is down in a bowl. Knowing the geography of the area is important. The Sea can change quickly from a serene to raging in just moments. If the wind blows from the eastern mountains of Jordan the winds will be a cold wind and will stir up the waters of the Sea.
When the storms come a small fishing boat could easily and quickly be swamped. Our story confirms this. It can be a life-threatening experiencing. Their life is on the line.
Suddenly they see someone walking on the water. First, they think it is a ghost but then Peter recognizes the figure to be possibility Jesus. So Peter says if it is you invite me out there with you. Jesus says come.
All the other disciples were shocked and amazed and did not want Peter to go. Safety is found in the boat, not on the Sea. Peter gets out of the boat and starts walking towards Jesus. As he keeps his eyes focused on Jesus all is well. Once Peter looked away he begins to sink. Jesus reaches out and saves him. Once in the boat, the Sea becomes calm. All is well.
To be a water walker, we need to focus on Jesus. Safety is found with Jesus and not in ourselves. So the question is……will we get out of the boat? And the answer can only be….when we keep our eyes on Jesus.