“Lord, if It’s You, Tell Me to Come to You on the Water”

Matthew 14:22-33
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

The story of Jesus walking on water is among the most famous scenes in the Gospels. Just imagine how you would feel being able to walk over the surface of a lake without even getting wet. What a supernatural experience! How could Jesus and then also Peter do what we know to be physically impossible? But only looking at the outward appearance of the story could make us miss the deeper meaning within.

The disciples were in the boat that was tossed back and forth by the wind and the waves when Jesus came to them walking on the lake. They were grown men – some of them experienced fishermen – but terrified at this sight. It says they “cried out in fear!” But when Peter realized it was Jesus he asked him to let him walk on water as well. Peter often stands out with his passionate and at times impulsive personality, but isn’t it admirable that he had the courage to step into the wavy sea by faith? He must have thought that if Jesus can walk on water, then he can give me the power to do it also!

Once Jesus calls him and Peter steps out of the boat, he miraculously walks on the water just as Jesus does. All goes well as long as he looks at Jesus. But then it says “he saw the wind” and Peter got scared. As soon as his attention turned to the storm and away from Jesus, he began to sink. He cried out to Jesus to save him, and Jesus immediately reached out and caught him by the hand. But he also scolded him: why don’t you believe that you can continue to walk on water by faith?

In our lives, we encounter many storms and challenges, but we can overcome and “walk on water” as long as we look at Jesus who calls us. The problem starts when we focus on our difficult situation and circumstances and forget about Christ who should be the center of our lives. We become overwhelmed with worries and doubts and begin to sink. Ideally, we should keep focusing on Jesus always, so we can walk straight through the storm by faith. But even if we struggle with doubts at times and may feel overwhelmed and even if it feels like we’re sinking, let us not forget to cry out to Jesus who is always faithful and will stretch out his hands and save us.

Especially during this time of the pandemic when uncertainty and fear abound, may we trust in the Lord who has overcome everything and calls us to walk on water in the middle of the storm, not by our own strength or ability but by faith in Him.