Rockin' the boat of faith

The story of Peter walking on the water is found in Matthew 14:-33. In this story, Jesus comes walking across the water toward the disciples' boat, which at the time was being battered by a storm. Oh, and it's also around 3 in the morning.

The disciples see Jesus and believe they are seeing a ghost and so they cry out in fear. Jesus responds to them, "Have courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." From the context we are led to believe that His answer is enough for the disciples.

What happens next is that Peter steps out of the boat and begins to walk on water but then sees how scary his surroundings are, takes his eyes off of Jesus, and begins to sink until Jesus saves the day. Many preachers exhort Peter for his great faith and then exhort us to keep our eyes on Jesus so that we won't sink. Christian music artists sing of their desire to have the kind of faith that Peter did, to step out of the boat onto the crashing waves. Peter is considered a faith hero for the most part. But is he?

You see, before he stepped out of the boat to walk toward Jesus, Peter heard the voice of Jesus and called back to Him, "Lord, if it's You, command me to come to You on the water." In other words, "Prove it to me, Jesus." Did it take faith to step out and walk toward Jesus on the water? I'm sure it did. But what about the other 11 who stayed in the boat? I mean, they believed Jesus the first time when they heard His voice (John 10:4, "The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice"). Shouldn't the fact that they had enough faith to stay in the boat be applauded? They didn't need to test Jesus. They believed Him the first time.

Do we trust Jesus or do we find ourselves having to test Him? "Lord, if You'll just do this for me, then I'll believe." That doesn't sound like faith to me but rather an ultimatum. I'd like to walk on water myself but if I see Jesus doing it first, then hey, that's good enough for me.

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