Jump Start # 3032
Matthew 14:30 “But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and when he began to sink, he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!”
Our verse comes from the time Peter walked on water. That seems like such an elementary statement. PETER WALKED ON WATER. You have never done that. I never did that. John never did. Thomas never did. Only Peter. And, we all have heard so many wonderful sermons about Peter taking his eyes off the Lord and looking at wind and the waves, parallel to us taking our eyes off of Jesus and focusing upon our troubles. When that happens, we sink. We need help.
The Lord was there and the Lord rescued Peter. This wasn’t the only time Jesus saved Peter’s life.
Another occasion, on the sea, in a storm, and Jesus was sleeping in the boat. The waves were above the boat. The boat was filling with water. Finally, the disciples awaken Jesus and said, we are perishing. This comes from several of them who lived on that water. They knew storms. They understood boats. They knew this was serious. We are going down with the ship and it looks like we are not going to make it. Jesus calmed the storm and then calmed the disciples. Once again, the Lord saved Peter’s life.
In the garden, moments before the Lord’s arrest, Peter swung a sword and cut off the right ear of Malchus. Immediately, Jesus told Peter to stop. He healed the severed ear. Jesus defused a very tense moment. Acting without thinking, Peter nearly died. John tells us that Judas led a Roman cohort with clubs and swords to the garden to arrest Jesus. A cohort is made up of many, many soldiers. Trained, armed and experienced, is what they were. Peter was a fisherman. Peter had no armor. There was not enough swords among the disciples for each to have one. In a matter of seconds, the Roman soldiers would have their swords drawn and in an instant all of the apostles would be on the ground dying. This could have turned very ugly, very quickly. Jesus saved their lives. Once again, Jesus saved Peter’s life.
At the tomb of Jesus, women had gathered that early Sunday morning to anoint His dead body. They fully anticipated seeing the lifeless Jesus in the grave. They brought spices, intending to use them. They wondered how they were going to move the stone blocking the entrance into the grave. What they saw amazed them. The stone was moved. The tomb was open. An angel sat there. It was this angel that told the women to “go tell the disciples and PETER…” Go tell Peter. Go tell Peter that the Lord is alive. Go tell Peter that Jesus is waiting for him. Full of remorse, guilt and sorrow, Peter easily could have followed the same route that Judas took, and that was suicide. Peter could have gone home, believing that he was a complete failure and no longer useful nor worthy to be among the disciples. So many things could have happened. “Go tell Peter,” is significant. The Lord wasn’t done with Peter. There would be powerful things he would do for the kingdom. In many ways, “Go tell Peter,” was a call to save his life. The Lord is alive. The Lord wants you. Go tell Peter.
Then, the most significant way that Jesus saved Peter’s life was the salvation that he offered through the cross. Sins forgiven, hope renewed, and a purpose and a promise to be fulfilled, Peter had a mission. God did what no one else could do.
Now some thoughts:
First, it’s hard to know how many times the Lord has protected us and saved our lives. Near car accidents, cancer scares, injuries that could have been much more serious, these are the things of life, but how many of them did the Lord have His hand in? We may never know. We may never know that we are alive today because God kept us from sinking or being destroyed by our enemies. And, why? Why has the Lord kept us alive? Like Peter, the Lord may well have a purpose and a plan for you. Today, you may serve as a shepherd in the church. Or, you may preach. Or, you may be the spiritual backbone of your family. Or, through you, someone else is doing those things. I expect if we were to know all the things that happened behind the scene, that we do not see, we’d be amazed at how often God was in our lives. The dumb and risky things we did as teens easily could have ended our lives. But here we are.
I remember my dear dad telling me a time when he was a Marine in WW II fighting the Japanese on the Marshall Islands. He was the ammo carrier for the machine gunner. Dad was running ahead, bullets were hitting the dirt all around him. Dad had two belts of machine gun bullets crisscrossing his chest. He was carrying two ammo boxes that were full. Strapped everywhere possible on his chest and belt were multiple grenades. He was running so fast that his helmet came over his eyes and he couldn’t see. In an instant he could have become a human torch. He made it. Did he? Or did the Lord save him?
Second, Peter used his life for the Lord. The saving of Peter was an opportunity for Peter to give his heart and life for the kingdom. And, that he did. He understood that he was blessed, saved and now had a purpose. And, aren’t we the same? We have been blessed. We have been saved. We have a purpose. We must do our part in the Kingdom. Strengthen it up. Fortify the kingdom. Defend the Lord. Spread the borders of the kingdom. It is tragic to see people given a second chance only to witness them wasting that one just like they did the first one. One day they will run out of chances and all they have ever accomplished is throwing those opportunities away.
Third, running through all of this is a thread that says the Lord loves us. The Lord sure loved Peter. We get on Peter for looking at the waves and sinking, but he was the only one to get out of the boat. It sure is easy to talk about walking on the water while you stay in the boat. It took courage, and we must remember this wasn’t a calm lake on a sunny afternoon. There was a storm, it was in the darkness of night and all the elements to tell one to keep both feet in the boat. Peter asked the Lord. Peter was courageous. The Lord wasn’t about to let Peter drown. The Lord cared.
The saving of Peter—it happened over and over. It very well could be our story as well. The Lord loves you.