Step Out of the Boat
by Yevgeni Stanukevich, Shavei Tzion Messianic Center, Tents of Mercy Network
Many of us know the story of Messiah Yeshua walking on the water of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). In the middle of a windy night, while the disciples of Yeshua were crossing the Kinneret in a boat, Yeshua just "strolled" out on the waves to meet them. Nowadays, over a million tourists visit the Sea of Galilee each year to experience the place where this miracle happened.
But let's go deeper into this passage:
When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost!" they said and screamed with fear. But at once Yeshua spoke to them. "Courage," He said, "It is I. Stop being afraid." Then Peter (Kefa) called to Him, "Lord, if it is really You, tell me to come to You on the water." "Come!" He said. So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Yeshua. But when he saw the wind, he became afraid; and as he began to sink, he yelled, "Lord! Save me!" Yeshua immediately stretched out His hand, took hold of him, and said to him, "Such little trust! Why did you doubt?" As they went up into the boat, the wind ceased. The men in the boat fell down before Him and exclaimed, "You really are God's son!" (Matthew 14:26-33 CJB)
Yeshua didn't do a usual, "natural" thing by walking on the water, but He had already been doing a lot of super-natural things during the weeks and days beforehand. He had made wine out of water, healed the sick, raised the dead and fed thousands of people. So for Yeshua, walking on the water was not life-changing.
However, there was one person in this story for whom that day was life-changing: Peter. God chose this fisherman and led him in an amazing direction. Pete was a regular guy - a good husband and caring son-in-law and Yeshua saw his potential (Matthew 8:14-15).
From Peter's interactions with Yeshua, we can learn a lot about his personality. Peter was impulsive. He really loved Yeshua, and among all those disciples he was possibly the first who understood that Yeshua really was the son of God (Matthew 16:16).
When he said that he would follow Yeshua even unto death, we might ask skeptically, "Really? Yet you ended up betraying Him!"
Well, let's look at that part of his story again. During the arrest of Yeshua, Peter attacked one of those who came to arrest Him. As a trained IDF infantry soldier I can easily picture this as a combat situation. Peter should have died for Yeshua right then. It was only through a miracle that they didn't kill him. With at least fifty armed soldiers standing around, he could have been dead in seconds! So, he was keeping his promise to Yeshua that he would follow Him even if it cost him his life. And years later, according to tradition, he did die for the name of Yeshua.
Tell Me to Come to You
Getting back to the boat ... we must understand that Peter heard the voice of his Messiah, and he got out of the boat, full of courage and faith in the One he loved. Peter walked on the water. This was unprecedented - a simple, sinful man of flesh and bones walked in faith on the water, into the unknown, in the middle of a stormy night.
We can learn so much from him! Behind Peter, there was a boat full of disciples frozen in fear, not understanding what was going on. They just sat there and watched while one man, who really knew his Messiah, stepped out of his comfort zone into the unknown, and grew in faith.
Way too often we are like the seated disciples - fearing each storm and remaining in the boat, without realizing that Yeshua is out there, calling us to follow His voice out onto the waters of trust.
This passage is a great lesson for all of us. Who do we want to be - the one who is sitting or the one who is walking? God wants to use every one of us for a great purpose. Let's walk with Him that he might do so.
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