There’s a slogan that, if I’m honest, drives me mad: “If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat.” It’s about getting out of your comfort zone in the hope of doing something incredible.
The saying finds its roots in Matthew’s Gospel. Peter and his fellow disciples find themselves in a boat, battling fierce winds on Lake Galilee. Then walking towards them on the water comes Jesus. While most of the disciples are freaking out, Peter asks to join Jesus on the water in a much-hailed act of faithfulness.
But am I the only one that wants to scream at Peter? It doesn’t strike me that he’s being especially brave or clever, but rather completely and utterly stupid. From the fact that Jesus can walk on water, it does not logically follow that Peter can too.
But Peter’s headstrong, always wanting to be at the centre of what Jesus is doing. Here’s someone whose whole reality, whose heart and mind, have been captivated by Jesus.
So perhaps it doesn’t seem quite so mad that when Peter lays eyes on Jesus, he desperately wants to be by his side. For him it’s not about walking on water, it’s about being with Jesus. Perhaps Peter’s thoughts were: “Where my God is, there is my safety.” Jesus has gone before him and so the way must be safe.
While I still can’t stand the saying, it strikes me that God doesn’t ask us to do anything that he hasn’t already done or isn’t prepared to do alongside us. What makes Peter walk on water? He can see Jesus, he wants to be with him, and he trusts God knows the way.
God of the storm, go before us today and always. Give us courage to walk with you and faith that you know the way. Amen.