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Trusting Him – Walking as He walked

After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone, 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 During the fourth watch of the night 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 towards 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 worshipped Him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."  (Matthew 14:23-33)

Here Jesus walks on water - He treads on the abyss. But Peter walks as Jesus walks (cf 1 John 2:6). How?

Notice he doesn't just step out. He asks for Jesus to command him. He's been in a storm with Jesus before (Matt 8:23-27).  Peter knows the power of Jesus' word - His word is obeyed! So Peter wants a word from Jesus to command him. And the word is powerful to enable that which it commands (Jesus' word is like that). Peter does the impossible because Jesus commands it.

Of course he sinks (looking at the waves and not looking at Christ). But in His grace, Peter only ‘begins' to sink.  This is not gravity acting on Peter or he'd sink like a stone. How slowly Jesus lets him down!  But when Peter calls out, 'immediately' Jesus saves.

His words of rebuke tell us how we can walk like Jesus: ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?'  Now what is Jesus referring to here?

Peter did not doubt that Jesus could walk on water.  And it wasn't self-belief that Jesus was recommending (Peter has no ability to walk on water!).  Peter's problem was that he doubted Jesus' word to him.  He doubted the word which both commands and enables what it commands. Peter doubted that he truly had been made into the person Jesus said He had - one who walks like He walks.  That was Peter's problem.

When Christ speaks a word to us then trusting Him involves trusting that we are the people Christ says we've become.  Jesus says to you:

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24)

So, don't look at the wind and waves.  Don't look at your heart and your abilities.  Trust the word that Jesus has spoken to you.  His word is powerful to make you who He says you are.  You can't make yourself into this person, but neither can anyone or anything else prevent you from being it.  The word of the LORD is supreme, you can trust Him.  You will not be condemned.  You have crossed over from death to life.  And now, you can walk as He walked.

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0 thoughts on “Trusting Him – Walking as He walked

  1. Tim VB

    Great comments Glen. Of course, if you're the author of the NOOMA videos, the message of Matthew 14 is quite the opposite:

    "This is Bell’s rethinking of the story of Peter walking on the water. After giving a pretty fascinating account of how the Jewish rabbi system worked, he concludes by saying that the unique thing about Rabbi Jesus was that he didn’t pick "the best of the best of the best" to follow him. He picked guys who didn’t make the cut. But the fact that he picked them meant that he thought they had the ability to do what he did. Peter thought so, too; so he got out on the water. The reason he sank was not that he lost faith in Jesus—it was that he lost faith in himself that he could be like Jesus. Faith in Jesus is good, Bell says, but what about Jesus’ faith in us? He chose us, so obviously he has faith that we can live the kind of lives that he wants us to live."

    (From a 9 Marks review of Nooma here.)

  2. glenscriv

    lol

    Rob Bell's video actually got me thinking about the passage. Whenever I see, hear or read something of Bell one thing is brilliant and at least one thing is awful. Almost without fail. (Except for two recent noomas which were just entirely awful!).

    But yeah, in the nooma called 'Dust', Bell said Peter's problem with 'little faith' was not trusting himself enough. What a fool! As though the resources for walking on water lay within Peter!! But Bell did get me thinking. Peter's faulty faith was not a failure to trust that *Jesus* could walk on water. So why is Peter's faith faulty? Because he fails to trust Jesus' word as a word for him. He fails to trust the power of Christ's word to make him what he is not in himself.

    And that's a very rich seam of thought (e.g. think of faith and assurance)... but perhaps another time.

  3. patt don v

    wait wait wait a second. Jesus walked on water!? Like actually took his feet, put them on top of an un-still surface, and started walking?!?!? that's unbelievable!!! i think you're lying. I doubt he really did that. I bet next you're going to tell me that he turned some of that water he walked on into like...i don't know....beer or even WINE. I don't know man. Get back to me on this because I really want to know what Jesus is like in person. I mean- you obviously had to be there becuase no one would just believe spoken words like that. Get back to man. This is all just too good.

  4. glenscriv

    Hi Patt,

    Thanks for coming by.

    You clearly expect to see regularity in the created order (water remaining water etc) - me too! But on what basis? I believe there's One who upholds it - who makes it a cosmos and not a chaos. Now I wouldn't have figured out this Personal ordering of things by myself. He had to make Himself known - and that's precisely who Jesus is: the Lord who upholds the universe entering in.

    Now I think you hit the nail on the head when you ask what Jesus is like in person. Only a personal encounter with Christ could possibly convince you that He is who He claims to be. You would have to meet such a Power to believe in it. But that is precisely what becoming a Christian is - it's meeting Jesus in His word.

    It happened for me when I picked up the Gospels and started reading them for myself. If you want to meet Jesus yourself I can think of nothing better to do than read His word and ask God to show you the truth of these things.

    Because if Jesus is who He says He is - the Lord of creation, the Light and Life of the World - then I'd be amazed if He *didn't* walk on water. But having met the One who can walk on water then I can understand why there are physical laws that mean I can't. Only meeting Jesus will actually give you a basis by which to call His miracles "unbelievable".

    Do get back to me if you like.

    All the best,
    Glen

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