Do We Doubt Too?
In the Gospels, we have a story that teaches many lessons to both young and old alike. In Mark's account (Mark 6:45-56) we see Jesus who has just fed the 5000, a story for another day, headed to Bethsaida. Jesus was going to stay a little bit and dismiss the crowds and told His disciples to get into a boat and go ahead. Jesus also went up onto a mountainside to pray first, and when He was ready to rejoin His inner circle, He saw them in the middle of the lake, straining to row against a strong wind.
Scripture doesn't say how long a period of time had passed, we just know it was between 'later that night' and 'just before dawn'. So we can assume several hours. Also given that time of day, we'd expect them all to be very tired.
Scripture says, "Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified." We read that Jesus told them, not to be afraid, that it was Him.
In Matthew's account of this event (14:22ff), Peter says, "Lord, if it's you, tell me to come to you on the water". Now we know the rest of the story, Peter set out walking on the water, and began to sink, and Christ reaches out and catches him, and says "you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
That's our question for today. Why do we doubt? Peter, a few short hours earlier had seen this Jesus feed 5000 men, not to mention women and children, so maybe between 10-20,000 people, from five small loaves of bread and two small fish. He had witnessed this otherwise unbelievable miracle personally, and now he doubts whether or not Jesus can make him able to walk on water? And according to scripture, Peter "got out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. He did it. Peter walked on the water. It wasn't that Peter stepped out of the boat and began to sink, he was walking on the water. The scripture says "when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!""
Why did he become afraid? Simple question today, but like many simple questions, the answer is not always so simple because we are human. When we are expected to trust Jesus (the Father/Son/Holy Spirit) in our daily lives, are the waves to high, the wind too strong and the water too cold sometimes? Do we forget who it is we are dealing with too? It's not always an easy answer is it? Taking the first step out of the boat is sometimes the easy part. It's the wind and the waves that get us. Beginning to answer the call of our LORD is sometimes not all that hard, it's hanging in there when it gets tough, when the storms show up, when the fear sets in that we see many fall away.
Jesus said Peter's faith was weak. What can we say about our own faith? Is it sufficient for our walk of life?
When Jesus and Peter got back in the boat, the wind died down, and all of them worshiped Him saying, "truly you are the Son of God".
What I hope this message leaves with you today is that Jesus is the Son of God in the middle of the storm just like He is when the winds die down and everything is calm. Let us not forget, Jesus not only can walk on the waters of the storm, He has the power to calm the storm. Not that Jesus will help us physically walk on water today, there's no need for that, but in a spiritual sense if He tells us we can walk on water, we need not worry about whether or not we can, and we need not be afraid of the dangers surrounding us. We need to step out of the boat and walk with confidence, and grow our faith. It's His power, not ours!