when peter got out of the boat…

One of the most peaceful places to me, in all of my travels, is the Sea of Galilee.  There is something about that stretch of water that is calm and makes you want to be still.  We were fortunate to go there (my second time) and experience those calm waters and listen to some great music and a great message.

But it wasn’t always that calm!  And I think Peter would agree!

Matthew 14:22-33 “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.  After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.  When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.  During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went out to them walking on the lake.  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.  “Its a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.  But Jesus immediately said to them, “Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.” “Lord if it’s you,  Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”  “Come”, he said.”

So here is Jesus, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and it is late in the day.  He has gone off to pray and has sent the disciples on ahead of Him.  So the disciples head out in their boat, and all of a sudden this huge storm comes up and keeps it up all night long!  The clock is ticking….the hours have passed by and our disciples are cold, wet, and exhausted!

Finally, during the fourth watch of the night (which is supposed to be between 3 and 6am) the disciples look up and see Jesus walking on the water! THEY THINK IT IS A GHOST!! Ok, they’ve been hanging with Jesus for some time now, and they have seen Him perform miracles, and they can’t get their mind wrapped around the fact that He’s walking on water?  Seriously? Well….they seriously cried out in fear, we know that (vs 26) for sure…

I love that Jesus is so cool.  He immediately speaks to them….He says, “It is I”…..not, all hysterical, waving his arms,  “Hey, it’s me, Jesus!”…no.He is the Great I Am… He is the creator of the wind and the creator of the storm.  He tells them to take courage. And I love Peter because he is always the one with something to say (kinda like me) and he says, “Ok…if it is you, tell me to come out on the water”.

All Jesus said is, “COME”.

Listen up people!!  When God says, “come”…you better come!  Peter was safer out of the boat that he was in the boat!!  He steps out of the boat and begins to walk toward Jesus.  And now Jesus is walking toward him……but….there’s always a ‘but’…..

Peter remembers the storm and takes his eyes off Jesus.  The storm hadn’t stopped!  In fact, the storm doesn’t even begin to die down until verse 32!  So, you’ve got the wind blowing, the rain coming down in sheets and the fishing boat just a bobbin’…..and Peter takes his eyes off his Master and begins to sink.

Now, I love this part.  Peter …. that BIG man….cries out, “LORD, SAVE ME!!”  Peter looked down at his feet and saw nothing but water.  When he lost his concentration on Jesus…he began to sink.   What does Jesus do?  Does He let him sink?  Nope…..vs.31, “..immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.  “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Wow.  Don’t feel bad Peter!  I’ve been there too!  I’ve been in some dark places and taken my eyes off Him and put them on my situation and started to sink.  BUT THANK GOD…He reaches out to catch me.

I like the way it is said…”he reached out his hand and caught him.” He didn’t just ‘steady’ him…..he caught him.  Niiiice….

But remember….we’re still in a storm here, people.  It’s still very dark, and it’s still raining and the wind is totally messing up everyone’s hair….And Jesus is making this a ‘teachable’ moment!  HA!  Don’t you think that Peter is probably thinking, “Yeah, let’s talk about this back in the boat!”  AND IN THE MEANTIME…what do you think is going on in the boat?!!  They are probably sitting there bug-eyed, mouths open, trying to figure out what is going on!!

Verse 32-33 “And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.  Then those who were in the boat worshipped Him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

In every person’s life; God, at some point of time, or another, will tell you to get out of the boat. Are you going to listen?  Or are you going to sit their bug-eyed with your mouth open?

Nobody lives forever……we’re either going to die in the boat or out of the boat. I pray that I’m right where He wants me….. worshipping Him!

when the rooster crowed…

Here are the facts:  An adult male chicken is called a rooster.  An adult female chicken is called a hen.  Roosters are larger, more colorful and have larger combs on top of their heads.  Chickens are tasty.  But that’s not really what I wanted to talk about…sooo……

In Luke chapter 22, there is so much happening.  It starts out with the Passover, and we find the chief priests and scribes plotting how they might kill Jesus, but they realized that they must do it without causing a big scene because they feared the people.

In verse 3, the Bible says that ‘Satan entered Judas’ (which really creeps me out) and then Judas made a bargain with the chief priests and captains to betray Jesus without causing a riot among the people.  They agreed to give him 30 pieces of silver.

Jesus has now sent Peter and John to go and prepare the Passover meal.  And when the time came, Jesus and the apostles all sat together.

Luke 21:14-23, “And when the hour came, he reclined at table and the apostles with him.  And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat the Passover with you before I suffer.  For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves.  For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until he kingdom of God Comes.”  And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me”.  And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.  But behold,, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table.  For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!”  And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.

Later, Jesus tells the disciples, that Satan had asked to “sift each of you like wheat”.  And then He tells Peter that He had prayed for him, that his faith not fail.  Isn’t that beautiful?  Jesus had already prayed for Peter because He already knew what was to happen!  But Peter insists that he would NEVER betray him and that he would go to prison with Him and even to die for Him.  And that is when Jesus tells him, ” before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny me three times.”

So now here we are.  Jesus has indeed been arrested,  taken and whisked away.  I don’t know where the other disciples have gone, but Peter decides to follow at a distance.  As he stands by a fire in the center of the courtyard, a servant girl looks over at Peter and exclaims that he is one of Jesus’ followers! Don’t you imagine that the words hit him like an electric shock!  How did they know?  Then as two others begin whispering, the accusation hits him again.  Again he denies him by saying, ‘I’m not one of them.”  And finally, another servant girl insists that he must be one of Jesus’ followers.  I imagine that Peter’s heart is pounding in his chest as they all look at him suspiciously, so he blurts out, “I don’t know Him.”

And that is when the rooster crowed.  But it is the next verse that is one of the most heart-breaking verses in the whole Bible!  (At least in my opinion) Because in verse 61, it says, “At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter.”

Oh………can you imagine? That is like a light being turned on while you are committing a sinful act in the dark.  How devastating…..Even though it is the dead of night, Peter saw the Lord…and the Lord saw him.  One look from the Son of God sent Peter out into the night to weep bitterly.

Oh, Peter….you didn’t deny Christ to the high priest.  You didn’t deny Christ to the soldiers.  You denied Christ to a servant girl! Peter is the man that had just cut off a Roman soldiers ear earlier in the Garden!  He was not a coward! But he had been caught off guard and he had ignored Jesus’ warning.

So it was Peter, the Rock (Matt. 16:18-19) that had crumbled at the most significant point in his life.  He had denied Christ, not once, but three times and I am sure that it is a failure that he would remember for the rest of his life.

I Corinthians 10:12 says, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” In other words, don’t be so naive and self confident…you are not exempt….you will fall.

In the end, it was Peters courage that failed him, not his faith.  Remember when Jesus said that He had prayed for him that “his faith not fail.”  Jesus knew long before the denial that Peter would fall and how he would react.  But he never left him.  Our Lord looks past our failures and faults and sees our heart.

Do you feel weak and confused?  Peter felt that way.  Are you feeling afraid and backed in a corner?  Peter felt that way too, in fact this story should give us one of hope! Listen to Peter!  If you’ve fallen and feel like you’ve denied Christ, take heart!  God still loves you!  And if he can love Peter … he can love you!