The words found in the 14th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew tell a story of Jesus walking on the water and commanding Peter to do the same. As Peter tries that defying task, he is successful for but a moment before sinking. Of course Jesus reaches down to save him and restore him to a place of safety, the boat. We can muse over the audacity of Peter to think he could do such a thing, the crazy talk of Jesus in encouraging someone to do such a thing, the other disciples for not trying themselves and for letting Peter attempt what seemed impossible by himself, and the sheer grace and power of Jesus and his ability to do what seems so incredible and against all odds. As our minds wander between these thoughts and questions, the one vision is clear. Jesus believes that Peter can do this, and because Jesus believes in him, it can be not just probable, but God-inspired possible. The ancient saying rings true, “With God all things are possible.”
I have often mused over this story in trying to figure out all that Jesus is teaching us. At this point in the life of this congregation and with the momentum for missional living that I see taking place, four words come to mind in light of this text. Those words are: Poise, Power, Passion, and Perspective.
When Jesus believes in us, our Poise can be strengthened. I am not talking about physical ability, but rather the poise that comes when our faith and confidence in something beyond ourselves is imagined and held onto. Certainly, without Jesus, Peter would not have come to the conclusion that he could walk on water, but with Jesus, the idea ushered forth from him was possible. The poise of faith that I have seen grow in people when serving others is nothing short of God-inspired. Thank you to those who step up and out to serve!
When Jesus believes in us, our Power can be increased. I’m not talking about muscle, might, sheer brute strength, but rather the power that comes from the inside out. A spiritual power that is greater than one, and exponentially increased with each Christ-like relationship. Our power comes from God, our power comes from the living Christ, our power is generated by the fiery Holy Spirit. I see this in Peter in his first steps, and I have seen this in the active participation of so many in the acts of love that provide life. Power is grown in all and for all.
When Jesus believes in us, our Passion can be multiplied. I am not talking about passion as love for football or your favorite pair of jeans or for more stuff, but a passion that multiplies and grows with each passing day as we live out our faith callings. Peter was called to walk on the water. What are we all called to be about in our world? What is the voice of Jesus crying out to us? Does love, hopefulness, joy, need an increasing place in our world? I believe they do. We are the ones in whom this passion can be witnessed and through us living out passionate faith-filled lives we can bring that passion to bear in all things. I have been witness to an ever increasing passion within those who find themselves investing in their faith lives and others' faith journeys.
When Jesus believes in us, our Perspective can be clearer. When Jesus first called out to Peter, he squinted into the storm. So he asked again. Only then in hearing His voice could he take those first steps. The same is true for us. We need a Jesus perspective. We need his lens, his viewpoint, his desire, his vision, to be ours. Jesus seeks to give that to us. It is why he empowers us with each passing moment in his life. It is why God continues to come and dwell among us today. With a Jesus perspective, we can cast off that which holds us back or down, and we can be free to step out in faith and really live.
We all are invited into a faith-filled journey of growing ourselves and this entire community in a discipleship faith. You cannot do that on the sideline. You cannot do that by yourselves. You cannot do that by staying the same. We do this together. We, like Peter, are invited to step out in trust and watch what God will do. I can say with confidence that you will be blessed with a strengthening poise, an increasing power, a multiplying passion, and a clearer perspective. What a gift that will be!
Step out…...Step up…...Step forward…...and trust Jesus to do the leading.