Matthew 14: 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
There’s an old joke in Tennessee that the last words of many a redneck are: “Watch this!”
I don’t know about you, but I get the feeling that the Big Fisherman Peter was more of a redneck than the Bible lets on. I’ve heard many sermons about Peter’s faith and how he stepped out on the water to try to prove to Jesus how loyal he was, but somehow I get the feeling that Peter is just showing off to the other guys in the boat. He wants to be exceptional and show the others how important he is to Christ, so when he calls out to Jesus and asks Him to command the fisherman to walk on the water, I really think Peter is saying to the rest of the disciples on the boat: “Watch this!”
I also wonder if Jesus smiled at that request. Peter was being audacious and I can just see Christ shaking his head good humouredly and laughing because He knows what is about to happen. At some point, He’ll have to help Peter from sinking below the waves, but Jesus knows how reckless Peter is. I guess that Jesus is using the event to teach Peter a lesson about pride. The Big Fisherman wants to impress the others with a supernatural act of faith, but he is really putting his life at risk and getting into deep water – literally.
Our wee church is about to embark on a large financial campaign and some people are worried that we may be taking on more than we can handle. To tell the truth, I’ve had a few concerns about the same things. However, I realize that this campaign is more than just foolishly walking on water or becoming overwhelmed by the amount we need to raise. It is a calling which this present generation has been given by Christ.
It’s not a double dare or an audacious act of pride; it’s a response to what Christ plans to do with our church in the years to come. We’re being given an opportunity that only comes to a minority of mainstream churches. Jesus is not asking us to walk on water, He is calling us to prepare the way for a future generation of believers, whose mission and ministry work will be a lot harder. If our present generation can give them a campus and a building that is well-equipped and highly renovated, then they will have a grand opportunity of making more disciples for Christ in years to come. In other words, we are being asked to make the sacrifices necessary now for people that we do not even know.
We are not walking on the water to make ourselves look good, nor are we saying to the other churches around us, “Watch this!” We are just following Christ’s plan and allowing Him to grow His Kingdom through us, our resources, our time, and our talents.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You call upon us to follow You and sometimes You ask us to make sacrifices. Help us to obey Your bidding and fulfill what You desire. Empower us to act courageously and consistently, not foolishly or feebly, in matters of faith. In Your Holy Name, we sincerely pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to email@example.com.