Today our reading ends with the story of Jesus walking on water.
It is a story we have all heard dozens of times. Even non-Christians know parts of this story.
There is one element, however, that I think gets less attention than it deserves. It is something that is easily missed if you are familiar with the story.
““Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”” – Matthew 14:28
Put yourself in this situation for a moment. You’re in a small boat in a big storm when you see what you think might be a ghost. You realize it happens to be Jesus, which would be comforting if he wasn’t walking on water a great distance from shore. I would personally find this rather off-putting.
What are Peter’s first words?
“Tell me to come to you on the water.”
I’m not sure that I would even consider that request an option if I was in the same situation. I would be concerned that I was overstepping my privilege of following Jesus. I would be afraid I would sink like the “rock” I was named after. I would be afraid the other disciples would think I’m nuts. But maybe that’s why this is a story about the presence of faith in spite of fear and not a story about the presence of faith in the absence of fear.
And how did Jesus reply?
We’ve seen Jesus make many invitations in this gospel already. What I love about the story is that it shows Peter’s desire to be invited and his boldness in asking.
When was the last time you asked Jesus to invite you into something terrifying where only he could sustain you? It might lead you to doubt and fall like it did Peter, but the only way to test the limits of our faith is by asking Jesus to invite us into deep waters.
-Jon Noto, Community Life Pastor