In Matthew 14: 29-31 Jesus said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
When my mother was hospitalized and I stayed with her during the night, I could not sleep and just observed her sleeping. Every hour I took a walk to the lobby and observed that the nurses were very busy because many patients could not sleep and were afraid of closing their eyes due to the possibility of not opening them again. The nurses of the station close to mom´s room knew that I was a pastor, sometimes they asked me to say a prayer for the patients, some others for them. I asked my mother how she could sleep so easily when others could not. She answered: “because we pray before closing my eyes and I know God and you will stay with me during the night.” Mom and I always prayed psalm 91 every night stressing the verse: “You who live in the shelter of the Most High, you will not fear the terror of night.” We can be dominated by our fears and anxiety unless we put our fears and anxieties in front of the altar of God in prayer and faith. The gospel story today expresses this truth with the words of Jesus: “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” You also need to “take heart” to understand how God wants to manifest God´s power to you. God can break your mind and your logic, God can break your own interpretation of how God can act. When God comes to you, God uses signs that can break your mind, because God never acts necessarily according to our parameters but according God´s own parameters.
Jesus answered: “Come”. Just one word, just one call. Like saying to Peter: “do you want to experience the miracle, okay, come and experience the miracle. Just come, and you will experience what it means to be with God.” “Come and walk on the sea with me,” says Jesus.
Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. Wow, the sign and the wonder appeared and Peter was experiencing the power of Jesus walking on the sea in the middle of the storm.
I think that if this story is about miracles, faith and power, the author should have ended the story at this point.
It could have been a wonderful ending, Peter recognized Jesus, walked on the sea and met his Lord in the middle of the storm, and both went back to the boat showing the power of Jesus and the amazing faith of Peter.
If the story had ended here, Peter would have been portrayed as a great example of faith in front of the storms.
But, as you know, the story did not end here.
“When Peter noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
We can be like Peter, we can recognize that God is coming to us in a miraculous way, we can recognize that God is in control of the situation even when the storm rages, we can ask God for protection and believe firmly in our hearts that a sign and a miracle will happen to deliver us, and we can also start experiencing the miracle and the wonder in our life, step by step, and then, we also can succumb like Peter and deny with our reason, and fear what is taking place in our present. We can deny the miracle even when we are experiencing the miracle. We can deny the possibility of freedom and peace when we are receiving the freedom and the peace from God, because we can succumb to our fear to believe that something like that is possible.
Peter was not a hero of faith in this story, he was only a man of little faith full of doubts. These are the good news according to Matthew, people with little faith and full of doubts can be rescued by Jesus in the middle of the storm. People that experience the power of God and suddenly lose their faith and sink in doubts and fears can be rescued again by the word of Jesus.
This is the gospel, a message that a person full of brokenness and fears, a person with little or no faith -persons like Peter that experienced God´s power and then denied the miracle- are people that fail and sink. These people, people like any of us, can always receive the words of Jesus and be liberated from our fears and anxieties. Normal people like us, these are the heroes of faith, because God can make the broken healed and fill with courage and faith the one who is living in doubt and fear.