This is one of my favorite stories, mostly because it has some great lessons for us to learn, and can be a source of great comfort to us. It’s really packed with meaning, but I’ll just list some of the more obvious applications for us. Of course I believe it literally happened, but almost every aspect of the story can be symbolically applied to our lives today.
We’ll spend some more time on Jesus’ prayer time at a later date, so let’s talk about the storm and what happened during and after it. The Sea of Galilee is famous for being a source of furious squalls and tempests which can arise in a moment with no warning. In the middle of one of these, the disciples saw a figure approaching them. Their first reaction might seem a little strange to us as we study it from the safety of our homes, but surely it’s no more weird than what was really happening.
But don’t you love the Lord’s reaction to their fear? Literally he said “Take courage, I am.” In other words, it’s really me, not some ghost. And in the middle of whatever “storm” we’re experiencing, those are the most comforting words we can hear. He didn’t immediately stop the storm (though he could have), but above all the noise of the crashing waves, the wind, and the thunder, they could still hear his words of peace.
But Peter, as usual, stepped in front of the others and asked for even more than just words of comfort from a distance. He figured that if his Master could walk on the waves, he could too. He asked, and the Lord Jesus answered positively and invited Peter to join him. And now there were two men, not just one, walking out on the sea.
Unfortunately, like many of us, he got distracted. Instead of keeping his eyes on his Lord, he looked at the wind, the waves, and what was happening around him, and he sank. Now, I know that a lot of people condemn Peter for this, but let me point something out: At least he got out of the boat. The other disciples were perfectly happy watching all this from a distance.
And also to his credit, when he saw himself sinking, he did the right thing: Call out for help to the only One who could rescue him. He got a mild rebuke once they got into the boat, but I would bet anything that he would've done anything to experience that again.
As I mentioned before, there are a lot of lessons we can learn from this. I’ll let the Spirit speak to you about what you need to do, like he’s done for me.
Lord Jesus, please remove any pride that keeps me from calling out to you when I need it. I know that you’ll grab my hand and won’t let me sink, like always. Thank you so much!