Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sinking Like the Rock

"The boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid." Peter answered Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." Jesus said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.

But when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him, saying, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped Him, saying,“Truly You are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:24-33)
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I love it when we see that the disciples were ordinary people. A ghost. Seriously? Ha! And then they screamed. Silly Apostles. Jesus truly was the most patient man on earth. To be fair, He was walking on the water, which is a fairly ghostly thing to do, I suppose.

But in all seriousness, how much are we like Peter? We know all of it, don't we. The whole story: Jesus died for our sins, baptism saves us, the Eucharist gives us the forgiveness of sins, love undying, life everlasting... Yet, how often do we begin to sink with fear as the troubles of the world engulf us like a raging, dark and uncontrollable sea? And there's Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God Himself, standing right in front of us as plain as day, but it still feels like we’re drowning.

Jesus knows that about us. He died for that part of us. He knew that about Peter before Peter even stepped out of the boat. That's why, when Peter began to sink in his own fear, "Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him, saying to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14:31). Peter's faith wasn't any more perfect than yours or mine is even though he saw the Christ in person. He believed enough to get out of the boat in the middle of the sea, and even enough to take a few steps--which is remarkable in itself--but his doubt crept in nonetheless, and he started to sink.

And even though, at the end of this whole ordeal, the disciples in the boat worshiped Jesus and confessed that He truly is the Son of God, it wasn't the end of their doubting. Eh, Thomas? Remember what Peter does to Jesus at the crucifixion. He denies Him three times. STILL. And still, he is forgiven because Jesus died for that sin, too. Our faith waxes and wanes because we're sinful. Period. Thank God Jesus' faith never fails. That's why Peter's confession, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!" (Matthew 16:16) is the foundation on which the church is built, not Peter himself. 

So take heart. Jesus isn't going to let your head go under either. He's got you, but sometimes in order to know who the Son of God really is, we have to sink a little first.

Suggested verse to repeat when you feel like you're drowning is from Isaiah 43:2a
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
“When you pass through the waters,” -------> 5 count inhale
I will be with you.” -------> 5 count exhale

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