Matthew 14, in particular, the story of Jesus and Peter walking on the water. In this story, we often focus on the relatable character of Peter, who after seeing Jesus, steps out in faith to walk upon the water with Jesus. I can imagine Peter, with his eyes focused on Jesus, walking bravely toward his teacher. The other disciples in the boat most likely watched in awe and fear at the sight of their friend and Jesus doing the impossible. Then, in a moment of fear and disbelief, Peter is buffeted by the wind and sinks quickly. “Lord save me!” he cries out to Jesus. Jesus as the benevolent Lord, saves Peter and rebukes his unbelief. Then they get on the boat and the sea calms. Peter is a relatable character in this story since all believers have experienced the cold, damp and dripping weight of unbelief.
If we reorient the story to focus more on Jesus than Peter perhaps we can see another ark in the story. Here is Jesus walking in the dark, and through a storm to get to his disciples. Seen this way I think we can see an interesting analogy between Jesus’ walk on the water with the tumultuous conflict Jesus experiences throughout his life. From all sides Jesus is buffeted by waves of sin and evil. As he approaches the boat, even his disciples do not recognize him. Then one faithful student dares to join Jesus against the violent sea. Peter, as an apostle, chooses the difficult path of walking with Jesus. Even Peter is unable to keep the faith however, and requires the saving grace of Jesus. So Jesus is the lonely Lord who pushes against the sin of the world.
We might also connect with this story to all Christians. Sitting in a boat buffeted by the wind we each step into the dark and angry sea to join our Lord in the battle against sin. Weak as we are, we have still made the faithful step toward our Lord. Jesus stands atop the seas an impediment to the crushing waves around us. Though weak in faith compared to the overwhelming evil of our own desires Jesus pulls us from the water and calms the storm.