“Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 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?” Matthew 14:22-31
This year I just can’t get away from Matthew 14:22-33. He is speaking to me about it a lot and bringing out more truth with each lesson. I am in love! (My previous post on this passage was written in January and called, “God, I Want Your Fullness”.) This Sunday, in our Sunday School class, guess what he taught on?? Matthew 14:22-33!!
I don’t know about you, but when I study passages in the Bible I come away with more questions than I typically do answers for a season. This has been one of those passages that I have had a lot of questions about. One question in particular I have wondered about for years is why did Jesus tell Peter he had little faith? I, personally, have always been in awe that Peter was able to walk on water at all!! What was it that caused Jesus to call out his doubt? I like how my husband said it best on Sunday after church to me, “How many of us in our class thinks they could go out to some body of water and have enough faith to walk on it? Many water-walkers here? That’s kind of how I saw it. Almost like I wondered, while he was chastising, rebuking, encouraging, or whatever tone you might think He was taking with Peter, what was He really thinking? And what could He be thinking of me and my whiny little faith? In comparison, it couldn’t be good, could it?
As is my history with any passage I desire to understand, I ask Him and then leave it and wait for Him to show me. And yes, this may mean to leave it for a long while. I have seen Him time and time again over the years bring 2 or 3 more friends (this is what I typically call scriptures or my Bibles) to agree with it and they lead me towards the truth He is teaching me.
The two friends he brought to me that helped me have such an A-Ha! moment this time were,
“They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed.” Psalm 34:5
” Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
You see, their agreement brings insight! That’s why 2 Cor. 13:1 says, “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” This is why scriptural agreement is essential.
In this specific case, I hear these passages speaking to my original inquiry, “Why did Jesus say to Peter, ‘O, you of little faith, why did you doubt?” If you look one verse prior, I have it highlighted in the above passage, one little word is amplified among the others. It is the word, saw. That little word opens a wellspring of revelation to my heart!! I believe that God said “little faith” to Peter because Peter was looking at the storm rather than the Savior. When he looked to the Savior-he walked! When he looked to the storm-he sank! I truly believe that “little faith” is defined by the sinking that takes place when we take our eyes off of Him.
I spent years sick and tired and being sick of being sick and tired. Well meaning people I’m sure, would tell me just to have faith! Or on some rare occasions I was told that because my faith was weak or little, that is why I continued to deal with such hardship. It would infuriate me to no end!! I would respond, “You listen to me, the only reason I am still sane and have a relationship with God at all after this mess, is called faith!” It is not defined by the storms of this life. Not in the storm or out of the storm, not by any circumstances (the great, the good, the bad, or the really ugly). You do not have GREAT FAITH because everything in your life is going hunky dory! You do not have LITTLE FAITH because everything in your life is going south! No success or boldness or strength can define you as having great faith. No failure or weakness could define you as having little faith. That would define you as being human which God gets. What He doesn’t get, is what victory we think there is in taking our eyes off of Him!! How could Peter, I mean this was even his second storm with Jesus? He was standing right there and Peter was still so consumed with the storm and not the Son?? Get the picture?
If you choose to FIX your eyes on Jesus=GREAT FAITH!
If you choose to FIX your eyes on anything else=LITTLE FAITH!
Whether the storm exists or not has nothing at all to do with your faith, other than possibly the trying of it (James 1). Get that today. You are not condemned because you have storms in your life. You are not blessed because you do not! God is not chastising you because you are afraid in the midst of the storms, some of them are really scary. But where are your eyes?? Your heart?? Your mind??
When you feel yourself sinking or that sinking feeling coming upon you, look to Him!! You were created to be a water walker my friend!! Fix your eyes on Him, He is the author and perfecter of this deal!! Ask Him to help you! Decide to look to Him like never before and do it!
Let the shame of your circumstances melt in His presence. He despised shame, so much that He died to deal with it once and for all. Don’t let it lie to you!! He died to deliver you from all shame. Look to Him and be radiant, my friends!! You can choose GREAT FAITH!! It is your choice!! You can look to Him! He is the Healer, The Deliverer, The Helper, The Savior, The Comforter and The Lover of your Soul and He has made a way specifically for you to have great faith and great victory! Then, as verse 32 says, “And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.” Be together with Him in the boat of life and watch the things of this world grow strangely dim in Jesus Name!!