The Measure of our Faith....

The story of Peter's failed attempt to walk on water is a Christian fable of faithlessness. Yet consider it more closely....

Matthew 14:28-33 Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." 29 And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!"

What does Peter do immediately before Christ challenges his faithlessness? He cries out to Christ, "Lord, save me!", a statement that to most Christians sounds like the essence of faith.

How much more faithful can we be than to look to Jesus for help in our hour of need? Peter looks to Jesus trusting He will rescue him from trouble.

Jesus responds, "You of little faith..."

Unfortunately, Peter's little faith, his doubting faith, is far too many Christians' high point of faith--their strongest impulse of faith is to turn to Christ when all else has failed.

The faith by which Peter cries out is true faith. It looks to Christ for deliverance. But it is pitiful faith, as Christ makes clear. Why? Because true faith takes the command of God, the promise of God, and doesn't look back. True faith doesn't constantly return in pain and doubt to Christ for balm. True faith conquers rather than sinks.

How often we act on doubting faith, faith sufficient only to look to Christ in the crisis; not conquering faith, but faith that is pleased simply not to go down in flames.


Funny you should post this, because a couple hours ago, I posted on my blog about a professor from Florida who says that Jesus didn't walk on water. Instead, he walked on a patch of hard to see ice. Unfortunately, I'm not kidding.

Funny, innit, how seeing wind and becoming frightened can make one sink through ice. ;-)

I suppose it shows the limits of a purely evidentiary approach to faith. Peter wanted evidence that it really was Christ, and not a spook, and so, knowing that spooks can't work miracles, dared Him/It to enable him to walk on the water. But once Peter was halfway out there, the evidence of the black, roaring waves all around him became more compelling. His senses overwhelmed his flimsy faith in Christ.

I'm reminded of a Groucho Marx quip: "Who ya gonna believe -- me, or your lyin' eyes?"


Good point! I'm a little embarrased that I couldn't think of that myself. Could have used that in my blog.

Bill K.

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