Matthew 14:28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” NKJV
Peter asked Jesus to ‘command’ him to come to Him on the water. In response to his request, Jesus said, “Come.” The way Jesus said this was a command. “Come” is a Greek imperative which means that it was something Peter had to do. In essence, Jesus was commanding Peter to take a step of faith.
Many years ago, I read a biography about a man named George Mueller. (1805-1898) As I have shared with you several times this week, George Mueller was a great man of faith. On one occasion he wrote, “Faith is the assurance that the thing which God has said in His Word is true, and that God will act according to what He has said in His Word…” In other words, ‘God said it, therefore I believe it.’ I distinctly remember something special that I read about Mueller and his faith. George Mueller made it a practice to read Scripture while on his knees. He did so in order that he might pray according to God’s Word. Rather than dreaming up great dreams and asking God to bless them, Mueller sought to know more about what God had already determined to do. On one occasion Mueller read,
“A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation.” (Psalm 68:5 NKJV)
When Mueller read that God was a ‘father of the fatherless’, he realized that God had already determined to take care of orphans. Thus, Mueller’s work to care for homeless children was his response to God’s will as it had been revealed to him through Scripture. When he prayed for food for the children, he did not wonder whether or not God wanted them to eat. He already knew that God cared more about the children’s welfare than Mueller himself.
Peter asked, “Lord, if it’s You, command me to come to You on the water.” “Come!” Jesus commanded. In obedience to Jesus’ command, Peter took a huge step of faith and walked on water.
But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:30-31 NKJV)
Peter did what no other human has ever done. He walked on water. Therefore, Jesus could not understand why Peter stopped after only a few steps. “Why did you doubt?” is the same as saying, “Why did you stop? Why didn’t you come all the way? If I helped you take one step, don’t you believe that I would help you every step?”
Jesus asked Peter why he stopped, but then Jesus answered His own question, “O you of little faith…” It was Peter’s faith in Jesus that enabled him to take the first step and it was his lack of faith in Jesus that caused him to stop taking more steps. As long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he kept walking on the water. It was only when he took his eyes off of Jesus that he began to sink.
“For assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20 NKJV)
God bless you brethren.