Just get out of the boat

Published 7:58 am Sunday, August 13, 2023

“But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’ And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord if it is You, command me to come to you on the water.’ So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.” — Matthew 14:27-29 (NKJV)


Much has been said about Peter’s recorded failures but the fact remains that Peter is the only one who actually got out of the boat and walked on the water to go to Jesus.

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Where were the rest of them? Why only Peter? Remember that this incident happened long before they were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they did not yet have their faith reinforced with the Spirit’s wisdom and power, they were reacting out of their human understanding and the little faith that they possessed. Peter had always been the reactionary, always leaping into action, always acting impetuously. It is then no surprise that he would be as bold as to get out of the boat at Jesus’ command to “Come.”

There is a great lesson (isn’t there always?) in this for us. In Peter’s case, and in many others in the Bible, it is the bold and determined who receive Jesus’ blessings of healing and restoration.

We’ve all heard the old adage from William L. Marcy in 1832: “To the victor belong the spoils.” Never was there a truer application than Peter’s example of trusting Jesus, in spite of all odds.

I’m sure that you recall Zacchaeus (Luke 19), the tax collector who gave up his dignity and pride and climbed a tree in order to see Jesus. Perhaps you also recall blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52), a beggar who risked his life in disturbing the “peace of Rome” by his shouting to get Jesus’ attention? Certainly you will remember the woman with the issue of blood who crawled down the filthy street just to touch the hem of His garment. She could have been stoned for touching Jesus in her unclean state, yet she and the others “got out of the boat” and went to Jesus.

What about us? What holds us back from obeying Jesus’ command to “Come”? Could it be pride, or maybe fear of the unknown? Jesus said, “Be of good cheer! It is I.”

Come on! Over the side, let’s go to Jesus!

The Rev. Bobby Thornhill is a retired pastor.