February 4, 2021
And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." So He said, "Come." (Matthew 14:28).
I’ve never been sky-diving, but I know people who have. My sentiment regarding the activity is parroted by Leroy Jethro Gibbs (NCIS) who said, “It’s insane to jump out of a perfectly good airplane!” I’m not a thrill seeker or an adrenaline junkie, even though I do ride a Harley.
In the midst of a huge storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus came walking on the water to the disciples who feared they would die in the midst of the sea. Jesus calmed their fears by calling out to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Peter’s response to Jesus was, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
There was no doubt in Peter’s mind that it was Jesus (the ‘if’ should be translated ‘since’). Peter was a seasoned fisherman, bold, impulsive, and strong willed, but knew the dangers of the Sea of Galilee, especially in a storm. He was a lot of things, but he was no fool. Going out onto the water to meet with a ‘ghost’ was the last thing he would have done. He would not have stepped out of a perfectly good boat in the middle of a raging sea. That would be testing God, and he wasn’t about to risk his life doing that.
So why did he? His fear of the storm was quelled by the appearance of Jesus. He knew everything would be OK because Jesus was there. But he knew better than to step out of the boat and go to Jesus on an impulsive whim. He asked Jesus’ permission first. Like the leper who said, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean" (Matthew 8:2), he knew Jesus had the power to sustain him on the storm tossed sea, but he did not presume Jesus would because he asked.
To ‘presume’ is to take something for granted, to assume, or suppose; to do something without right or permission. Spiritually speaking it is to test God; it is to put ourselves in a position where the Lord has to rescue us. Usually we get in such situations because we aren’t thinking, we are careless, or we intentionally (and arrogantly) want to prove our faith to others. This was not the case with Peter. His was an act of faith, not presumption. It was not intended to prove his faith in Jesus to the disciples, to Jesus, or even to himself. He asked the Lord to let him walk to Him on the water because he wanted to be with Jesus.
“Lord Jesus, keep me from presumption in my daily walk and ministry. Never let me assume that what I say and what I do is OK with You. May I always be guided by Your Holy Spirit to do what Your will dictates and to speak the words Your Holy Spirit gives me to speak. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”