Today’s Bible reading
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. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s 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.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” — Matthew 14:22-33
More thoughts for meditation
I’ve read this passage many times and have heard it preached just as many. If memory serves, the focus settles on Peter’s inability to keep his focus on Jesus while he is on the water. But there is a vital moment right before that is rich with meaning. I’m thinking of the moment where Peter imagines himself on the surface of the water right next to Jesus.
Peter often makes impulsive choices throughout the gospels, and they tend to define him as bullish and brash disciple. But in this moment, I sense a childlike characteristic in Peter–one where he cries out, “I want to walk on the water like Jesus!” What a rich and boundless imagination Peter has.
In our contemporary culture where fear and scarcity flush through our phones and computers, it can be difficult to engage our imagination to cast vision for that next stage that God is calling us into. I sense that the older we get, the more conservative strategies are deemed to be wise; charity and vulnerability become foolish. But Jesus walks above the fear and invites to follow. The first step is to imagine that it is even possible.
Suggestions for action
The spirit is moving in you. Have you been mulling over a generous act, a phone call of reconciliation or stepping out in trust? Imagine that Jesus is with in that action. Maybe today is the day that you step onto the water with Jesus? Pray your imagination.