What must the disciples have felt while they watched Peter step out of the boat and begin a journey of faith and obedience towards the Master? We have heard a lot about Peter’s initial bravado. He knew Jesus’ voice. While the other disciples were still trembling in the boat for fear it was a spirit approaching, Peter cast off all fear and simply stepped out in faith. Then the thunder and lightening frightened him and he fell. The weather distraction had been there from the moment they all saw Jesus coming towards them walking on the water, but for Peter the voice of the Lord overpowered the tumult. Then after a couple of steps of walking on the water he leaned on his own understanding and suddenly he heard the winds and saw the waves. It was at that point fear and doubt entered in. As always our Lord was gracious, understanding our human frailty better than we do. He reached down and picked up Peter and they both walked back to the boat together.
Another observation here is what a gentleman the Lord is. He could have come to the other disciples and rocked the boat enough to shake them all out of the nest of familiar surroundings. But He simply said, “Come”. So it is today. We must decide to follow Jesus no matter where He leads.
I imagine the disciples had quite a visual display as they watched this eternally written drama unfold. After the initial awe of Peter’s boldness they probably were emboldened themselves. I can imagine John or Matthew saying “Wow! Are our eyes playing tricks on us?” Then it is possible the encouragement began. “Way to go, Peter. You are amazing!” They became the boatside cheerleaders.
People with the gift of encouragement love to operate in that gift and strengthen others and there is truly a blessing in that. Cheerleaders are needed but they never actually enter in to the game. They watch and shout from the bystands. They are thrilled with every victory of the team, and grieved by every loss.
Moving to the next dimension of the Spirit means actually entering into the playing field. This means energy will be directed in a new way. Cheerleading probably takes as much energy and anointing as playing on the team. We each have been called by the Master for different purposes and roles in this life. But what if the Lord was calling His Bride out of the boat and into the deeper waters where we could possibly fall? Would we be willing to leave the security of the boat – all that is familiar – the protective circumference of the boat to follow Jesus? Interestingly enough, the Lord Himself returned to the boat with Peter, so surrendering all to Christ in obedience doesn’t mean we can’t have something to hold on to (like a boat, or a home) but it means that after a “walking on water” experience the boat will never mean as much to you.
My friends, the storm is raging on every side and the Master is walking on the water beckoning us to come. Being in His Presence is the only place of peace and safety in this world, and together we can do mighty exploits if we only believe.