Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

The Growing of Faith


MATTHEW 14:25-33 – 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”  28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”


THEME OF THE DAY:  THE GROWING OF FAITH.  There is much excitement and emotion in today’s scripture. The disciples experience fear, anxiety, and even terror seeing a lone figure in the dark, walking on the sea coming to them.  We would be “shaking in our sailor boots” right along with them!  But then, the sudden shift in emotion from afraid to calm. Whew!  It is Jesus and when Jesus says, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid”, then fear is gone. The emotional roller coaster isn’t over and now the main character arises – Peter.


What unfolds is the familiar account of Peter walking and sinking on the water.  So often sermons or devotions follow the line of “Don’t be a Peter.  Keep your eyes on Jesus. If you don’t, and put them on your circumstances, you will sink under their weight.”  Sounds good and it does have scriptural support of always looking to Jesus (Hebrew 12:1-2). However, this isn’t the meaning of the text. The key lesson here is faith.


As Peter gets out of the boat, he is exercising faith.  How do we know? Peter says, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”  Jesus gives a one-word command – come – and Peter obeys which is the working of faith.  But then, the trial gets intense and Peter begins to think, from a fallen human perspective, the irrational nature of him walking on the water. Now he begins to sink. Peter cries out to the Lord for help, giving further evidence of faith – praying. Jesus grabs His hand, and brings Him up to the top of the water and questions him – “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”


A third lesson about faith is now to be revealed. Stay with me. Perhaps we haven’t thought much about this one.  This riveting scripture account ends with these words “And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.”  How did Peter and Jesus get there? They had to walk on the water.  What caused Peter to fail when going to Jesus?  He looked at the wind.  Going back to the boat, the wind didn’t change until they got into the boat.  Did Peter sink the second time? Nope.  His failure taught him faith.  He grew in the faith by failure and so will we.  The lesson?  Let failure build faith, not weaken it, for failure is one of God’s choice teaching tools!


PRAYER: “Father, help me to see that my faith grows through my failures, not any perceived successes.”


QUOTE: “Failure is one of the best teachers in life for it brings with it the necessary virtue to be taught – humility.”


In the affection of Christ Jesus,


Pastor Jim