After Jesus fed the five thousand we see the teaching where Peter came walking on water with Jesus. This teaching about walking on water with Jesus holds many good lessons. There are elements of faith, doubt, trust, comfort, power and authority contained in the lesson on walking on water with Jesus.
To begin with we see Jesus send the disciples off in a boat across the sea while he dismissed the crowds and sent them home. After this Jesus went up alone on the mountain to pray. It is important to understand that even Jesus, as the Son of God still needed time alone with God to pray. He still came to the Father for guidance and to put his thoughts and needs before him. He did this alone which aligns with the teaching he gave in Matthew 6:6 saying, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Jesus followed this same principle of praying alone and away from others to the Father.
Then we see Jesus come walking on water to the boat, intending to pass them by, but when they saw him he came to them. The disciples were terrified thinking it was a ghost until Jesus called to them not to be afraid. Peter then said, “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “Come.”
Now here is an interesting situation when Peter came walking on water with Jesus. First we must understand that no man has the power or authority to walk on water. Peter could not do so until he was given permission and authority from the Lord. Once he had permission Pater came walking on water to Jesus. Any miraculous works that are done can only be done under the power and authority of the Lord. You cannot take the power of God and you cannot take or claim the gifts of God either. These things are given as gifts and if the Lord does not give us both the power, which comes through the Holy Spirit, and the authority to exercise that power, we will be able to do nothing.
So Peter received the power and authority to come walking on water with Jesus. When he stepped over the side of the boat, believing it was the Lord; he had put his full trust and faith in Jesus that he would be able to walk on water with Jesus. And that is exactly what happened. Peter walked to Jesus in the middle of the sea on the water. While Peter kept his eyes on Jesus and held to his faith, he could literally walk on water with Jesus, not alone but with Jesus.
But then Peter looked around himself and saw the raging wind and waves and he became afraid and began to sink. He took his eyes off Jesus and basically said to himself that this can’t be happening. How can a man walk on water? And so he began to doubt, and when he began to doubt, he began to sink.
How many times do we find ourselves surrounded by the storms of life? When we look to Jesus the storms do not affect us, but when we focus on the storms we too begin to sink. The analogy here is easy to see and understand. While our focus is on Jesus we too can figuratively walk on water with Jesus. When we are together with Jesus, anything is possible. But when we separate ourselves from Jesus through doubt or setting our minds on the problems and issues that we are surrounded with, we sink. Doubt is a lack of faith.
When Peter came walking on water with Jesus and doubted, he quickly refocussed and called out to Jesus to save him as he was sinking. Jesus reached out his hand and caught him saying, “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?” Then they got into the boat and we see a further interesting thing occur. After Jesus had assisted Peter, he calmed the wind and sea. In essence he removed the storms and the problems that were causing them to be battered and hard pressed to reach the other shore. Likewise when we call to Jesus for help in our storms, as we ask in faith and trust him, in due course he will calm the storms around us.
This is a wonderful teaching from which we can take heart and hope. There is comfort in knowing that through Jesus anything is possible if we will call to him to help us. He has the power and the authority over all things and there is nothing he cannot do to help us. All we need to do is ask.