Peter and Sinking

Posted on August 23, 2023

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Peter and Sinking

This morning we hear the familiar story of Peter sinking into the water.

At first – Peter seems to be the brave disciple.

He is the one who takes the risk of coming out of the boat to meet Jesus.

When he does this – everything seems very good.

He walks on water.

A true miracle – just like the fish and the loaves miracle story.

But he becomes afraid.

He realizes what he is doing – he gets scared and he sinks.

Game over.

Here Jesus is a little disappointed in Peter.

“You of little faith, why did you doubt.”

Matthew’s telling of this story resonates with us today.

How many of us here can identify with Peter.

We want to believe.

We think we have faith.

Maybe we even feel that our faith is strong.

And then good things start to happen.

It is as if we are walking on water.

We see the power of God at work in our lives.

We start noticing miracles and blessings in our life and in the lives of those around us.

Our faith increases and grows.

And then we get scared.

We become afraid.

We start to sink.

We stop reading our Bibles, we stop praying, we stop coming to church.

It’s like whenever a lot of good things start coming our way and then we begin to worry that something bad is going to happen now.

Because so many good things have happened to us.

In the Bible once Peter notices that he is walking on the water and feeling the wind on his face – he gets frightened and then we know what happens next.

He sinks into the water and he needs help to get out of the water and back into the boat.

I wonder here what would have happened if he would have continued walking on the water.

What if he noticed how he was walking on the water, noticed the wind on him, noticed how he was obeying Jesus and coming to him.

-And didn’t stop walking.

He kept moving forward in faith.

Have there been times in your life when you got scared and stopped walking towards something?

Maybe even stopped walking towards Jesus.

You heard his voice, you believed in him, but something prevented you from coming after him and in following him.

You were afraid and you began to sink.

If you said yes, then know you are in good company.

I have certainly said yes to this question more than once in my life.

Times when I got scared.

Times when prayer seemed difficult.

Times when my faith seemed very small indeed.

The good news here for all of us – is that when Peter began to sink into the sea, he had the good sense to immediately call out to Jesus.

“Lord, save me!” he cried.

And what does Jesus do… he immediately reached out his hand, catches Peter, and saves him.

Afterward, he does get a talking to.

“You of little faith, why did you doubt.”

But even with that said – Jesus continued to believe in Peter and Jesus continued to love him.

Peter is a real person – an imperfect person, certainly he is not a saint.

He is one who sometimes lacks faith, but he is still a disciple of Jesus.

God does not call us to be perfect people, God does not call us to be saints, God calls us to be people of Jesus.

God calls us to be Jesus people.

People who love Jesus and who follow him.

In following his we call out to him when we need him, when we need his help, when we need his protection and care.

This is a really important text in Scripture.

This reading gives us the assurance that Jesus is with us even when we falter.

When we are not at our best and when we have days like Peter where we sink – Jesus is there to catch us, to lift us back up, and to set us back in the boat.

Thanks be to God that Jesus, the Son of God, is always there for us.

Picking us up and helping us to get back on our feet once again.

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