Stop Drowning First

The disciple Peter had a massive gut check on the Sea of Galilee. After having ministered to a large crowd and fed thousands, Jesus sent the disciples away to take their ship to dock at the western shore of the sea of Galilee on the “other side.” Christ had stayed back by himself to pray in isolation. A storm came to the disciples as they crossed the sea. The waves that once were calm waters rocked the ship, and the winds that once were a gentle breeze became gusts. The disciples when confronted with the storm—a symptom of a fallen world—and in the distance saw a figure seeming to walk on the water.

“They were terrified.” (Matthew 14.26) They thought it must be an apparition. Missed the mark. It wasn’t a ghost. It was Christ, in the flesh, fully human and fully beyond humanity, defying the storm.  “Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.” (Matthew 16.27)

Peter is bold as a lion. He cries out to Jesus, “Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He did it… sort of. A few amazing storm-defying steps on the water and fear grabs hold of Peter. This is the same fear that will later grab hold of Peter when he denies Jesus in the middle of the crucifixion scene. That fear caused Peter to nearly drown. 

“Lord, save me.” (Matthew 14.30)

There you go, Peter. 

“Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold him saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’” (Matthew 14.31)

Peter thought it would be easy, because he was focused on Jesus. It was a natural knee-jerk reaction to try and imitate Christ—so long as Christ was his focus. The second he focused on the winds, the waves and his own fear, he found himself nearly drowning.

Does Christ have your whole attention? This man Jesus who mastered the sea and the waves and utterly broke the chains of sin and death invites you to know him and to follow him and to make him the King of your life. Is Jesus featured in your life, blurry like an apparition amidst winds and waves? Or do the winds and waves fade into blurriness as you reach out to Jesus and attempt to live his way? Can you further become devotional, missional and holy the way he was? 

Yes you can—but first you have to stop drowning. Cry out “save me from my storm,” and then say, “make me like you.” 

Cain Atkinson

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