Everywhere we look in the Bible, we see ordinary people walking out extraordinary, unlimited lives, doing simply astounding things – things that most of them had no business doing. There are so many to choose from, but one I particularly identify with is Peter.
Simon (Peter) and Andrew were minding their own business, just smelly fishermen in a boat on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus called them to follow Him. A few chapters later, they are watching Jesus heal Peter’s mother. Yet a few more go by and Peter is walking on water. Two chapters after that, Peter is making the pivotal declaration that Jesus is the Christ.
The story continues as Peter witnesses Jesus at the transfiguration – one of only three that got to attend the event. By the book of Acts, Peter’s shadow is healing people. This ordinary fisherman winds up in Cornelius’ house – a Gentile (non-Jew) – and while telling his story, everyone there was filled with the Holy Spirit – the first moment in all of history that something previously available only to Jews became available to everyone! Not only was Peter there, but he was the ordinary guy that God used to make it happen.
Peter the Brave
Peter seemed to have a habit of putting himself into positions where faith is the only option. Matthew 14 tells of one such leaps of faith. The chaos of the storm is all around. The wind and the waves have been thrashing against the boat, tossing Peter and his friends about. They were probably tasting their fishy lunch for a second time. Jesus passes by the boat in an amazing display, walking on the lake. Peter opens his mouth and immediately puts his faith on the line. “If it is you, tell me to come to you.” Apparently he has a death wish. This is clearly Peter’s idea, albeit inspired by seeing Jesus traipse past the boat.
Then Peter gets down out of the boat. Having seen pictures of these boats I can see him climbing over the edge and lowering himself to the water as the waves lash against his sandals. Then he walks on the water. Though it is hard to confirm, I think we can safely assume this is his first time ambulating on a lake, and it appears he does fairly well.
Forerunner in Faith
Our tendency is to speed read past this and get to the part where he sinks, as we can relate to sinking whenever we walk on water. But the fact remains, this ordinary everyday guy looked right into the wind and waves, and physically accomplished something that none of his friends had ever done.
I can also hear the voices of others in the boat with Peter. Odds are that he heard at least one of his companions tell him that it was a very dumb idea. “Sure, Jesus can walk on water, but that doesn’t mean you should try it.” “Peter, you aren’t wearing your life jacket.” “You’re supposed to wait at least 30 minutes after eating!”
But it was Peter’s faith that got him there. He was driven onto the turmoil of the waves by a simple belief that there was no limit to what he could do, and that the natural order of things had absolutely no bearing on what could be accomplished by the practical action of his faith.