When Peter walked on the water, we are told that there were other disciples as well in the boat.
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. -Matthew 14:22
Yet, it was only Peter who ventured out to go to Jesus.
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. -Matthew 14:28-29
We do not know how far the boat was from Jesus. We can surmise, however, that the boat was somewhere in the middle of the lake and, thus, was already in deep water. We are also told that a storm had suddenly descended upon the lake.
So it was with some measure of faith that Peter asked to walk towards Jesus. The other disciples could only cower in fear and watch as Peter stepped out into the deep.
Fear worked in two ways here. One, it immobilized the disciples. The other, it triggered Peter’s faith.
For a few moments Peter was able to walk on the water. But then, as he was distracted by the wind that was sweeping over the lake, immobilizing fear again took over and he began to sink. Jesus’ admonition was apt: “You of little faith,” he said.
It wasn’t faith in Jesus that was little. It was faith that he could walk in water that was wanting. For if it was faith in Jesus that was little, Peter would have tried to swim back to the boat. But he cried out to Jesus to save him and Jesus did.
Peter felt and knew the mighty arm of the Lord.
Your arm is endowed with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted. -Psalm 89:13
Many might think that Peter’s walk on the water was an exercise in futility. It wasn’t. It was a lesson in faith; for many times we need to get out of our “boats” and walk to Jesus. Our “boats” can be our comfort zones and Jesus, the will of God.
The walk of faith may seem stormy and perilous, but the end result is knowing the power of God.