Like me, you have probably seen the “Jesus Saves” sign on a church more than once in your life. We usually take it to mean Christ died for our sins and because of Him we have eternal life and are assured of our place in Heaven. However, I believe it means a whole lot more.
We all know the story of Jesus saving Peter after he came out of the boat in Matthew’s Gospel. (Mt. 14: 25-32)
“Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.”
Well, as it happened I heard this story mentioned twice in twenty four hours. From past experience I know when that happens the Lord is trying to tell me something so I better spend some time thinking it about it.
You’ve probably heard it preached and maybe it was all about Peter stepping out of the boat and whether his faith was weak. In other words, maybe the emphasis was placed on Peter and what we can learn from his experience.
As I thought about this story I noticed how eager Jesus was to save Peter. Though the Lord rebuked Peter for his lack of faith He didn’t say “well Peter because you lack faith I can’t or won’t save you”. On the contrary Jesus saved Peter in spite of it. The Lord knows our weaknesses and our fears and, though He wants us to overcome them in and through Him, He will never let us “drown” if we come to Him.
Peter had to have a lot of confidence in Jesus to step out of the boat in the first place. He had to trust Jesus enough to believe Him when Jesus said “Come”. It is in trusting Jesus He can move in our lives and it is our sincere faith the Lord can and will help us which motivates us to step out of the boat.
However, what exactly did Jesus mean when He rebuked Peter for “little faith”? Did Peter doubt the Lord’s ability to save him once he was out of the boat? It’s something to think about and the Lord has impressed upon me the importance of trusting Him no matter how strong the wind is blowing.
In my own life I know there have been times when I’ve prayed and in the beginning have full faith and confidence the Lord will answer my prayer. However, when the prayer is not immediately answered and the winds become stronger I feel like Peter standing on the water. It is then I have to remind myself the Lord hasn’t changed because the storm is raging. He’s still the same Almighty, All Powerful God He’s always been.
This same Jesus who saved Peter is able to save us also. Salvation is not just about saving us from sin and death. It’s about a whole lot more and sometimes about saving us from ourselves. Isn’t that what Jesus really saved Peter from; his fears and doubts?
The Bible tells us not to fear and never to doubt but I will admit no matter how hard I try fears and doubts are still lurking ready to pounce upon me at the first opportunity. However, rather than giving in to them I will now go to the Lord knowing, just as with Peter, He will save not only save me from the circumstance but also from myself.
Praise the Lord for His mercy! Amen.