Monday, August 09, 2010

Focus on Jesus, not on Peter

He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.
(Matthew 14:29 – ESV)

You will hear some say, “If your faith is focused on Jesus then you too can walk on water”. However, the focus of the passage from Matthew 14:22-33 is on the fact that Jesus can and did walk on water, showing that He is Lord over creation. By God’s power we can do great things, but to take this passage and make it about us is to miss the point. People say focus on Jesus not on the storm, but I also say focus on Jesus not on Peter. Do not focus on what Peter could have done, or what you think we can do, focus on Jesus and what He is doing and has done. That is the focus of this passage, not on our faith giving us water walking ability but our faith in a water walking God. It is not that Jesus gives us the power to save ourselves; it is that Jesus is the power to save us, and He does save us. That is the essence of the gospel message.

This was the second time Jesus calmed a storm before the disciples (Matthew 8:23-27). This event was immediately after feeding the 5000, but now it was the 4th watch, between 3-6 am: it was stormy, they were tired and they thought they saw a ghost!

He walked on water to show that He was Lord over creation and the Divine Messiah. Moses parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14) – Jesus can just walk across it. Joshua parted the Jordan (Joshua 3:14-17). Elijah parted the Jordan (2 Kings 2:8). Elisha also parted the Jordan (2 Kings 2:13-14). This miracle shows us that Jesus is greater than Moses, Joshua, Elijah, and Elisha.

Jesus walking on the water was a testimony to His divinity (Job 9:8). The Egyptian hieroglyphic for impossibility is a man walking on waves. God alone can do this. Peter tried and could not (vs.28-30). This was a testimony to Jesus being Lord over creation, not a testimony to our water walking power of faith. The disciples worshiped Jesus in response (vs.32-33).

There was a further miracle. John 6:19-21 – although they had gone about 3½ miles, once Jesus came into the ship it immediately arrived at the land. Only God has this sort of power.

Jesus isn’t calling us to walk on the water; He is calling us to Himself. Our faith must be in Him. Sometimes we can seem to do the impossible, but even when we fail, He did not, has not, will not fail. Our faith, our trust must finally be in Him alone, for only He cannot fail. I’m not trying to be down on you or down on me, I’m trying to be up on Jesus!

I’m not saying don’t attempt great things, I’m saying DO attempt great things, but even if we fail to walk on water, Jesus won’t. Yes, use what God has given you, yes, develop whatever skills you can and use them for the glory of God. Enjoy the good graces that have been bestowed upon you, but the bottom line is you must trust Jesus Christ alone for your salvation, and trust your life and death and eternity to Him. Walking on water is not our role, it is not some matter of stirring up our faith so that we can, it is about calling on Jesus who did and who can.

Peter asked twice. We say, “God help me to rise above my stormy circumstances”, but then sometimes we need to cry out “Lord, save me from the storm, I can’t do it”. Peter cried out, and the Lord saved him. It is not the strength of our faith, but the power of God that saves us.

You don’t have to walk on water, you just walk by faith, and if you do, the waves may get high and the wind might get strong but you will never sink without being able to call on Christ, who will never leave us nor forsake us. We walk by faith, not by sight, and we walk by the Spirit, not by the flesh. This is a spiritual thing; even if physical things turn stormy Jesus is still with us and will deliver us, perhaps not out of the immediate storm, but out of the storms of doubt as to who He really is and what He can really do. Most importantly what He has already done and will do for us if we will believe Him and be saved. Don’t focus on Peter, and don’t focus on yourself, focus on Jesus. He can do the impossible.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©


Even So... said...

Who have you got your eyes on, and for what purpose?

Even So... said...

We did a sermon by the same title recently, you can find it @, or SermonAudio...

Paul said...


Even So... said...

Thanks Paul...