When we are in love, romance movies resonate with us. When we are sad, tragedies hit all the right chords. The same could probably be said with our days of inner rage and watching Liam Neeson give the bad guys their just desserts.
This is also true, at least for me, with Bible stories. There are countless Bible stories that have been regurgitated in every way possible throughout my life, be it through puppet shows, felt boards, coloring sheets or by watching talking vegetables. But the stories that really hit differently are the ones that dealt with the same issues thousands of years ago that I find myself dealing with in today. So get your felt boards out.
Peter Walks on Water
(Not sure if there is a VeggieTales version of this one… I don’t think it would be quite as powerful. Most vegetables are naturally buoyant.)
Not-Very-Buoyant Peter Walks on Water
but 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 he 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. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.
— Matthew 14:24–29
Not-Very-Buoyant Peter Walks on Water but Looks Around, Becomes Worried, and Sinks
But when he 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 to him, “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 14:30–33
Time to put the felt characters down and dive a little deeper. When we were children, we generally just clung to the fact that walking on water is impossible, but Peter did it because faith and because Jesus. Which is a great summary, really. But we are grown-ups now, and it’s time to look at some more key points.
“… beaten by the waves for the wind was against them…”
This was difficult and hard work, the disciples were having a very bad time
Jesus came to them.
Already swamped with worry about their struggle in the boat, they were terrified when they saw him. They didn’t even recognize Jesus, the same guy they had been following for months.
Jesus simply calls out, “Don’t be afraid.”
Peter decides to take that literal leap of faith and hops out of the boat to walk on water to Jesus.
When Peter takes his eyes off Jesus, he again begins to feel the worry, the burden of a bad time. He begins to sink.
Peter cries out to Jesus
“Immediately,” Jesus reaches out his hand to save Peter.
“Oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt?”
OK, time to resonate. Life is hard for many and, as of late, it’s been very uncertain for most. The waves have been beating against the lot of us. Are our struggles and worries keeping us from recognizing Jesus when he comes to us? After taking a leap of faith, have we looked around and noticed this is a much more difficult time than we had expected? Are we sinking? Well, then cry out! Grab the hand that reaches for you. Throughout the story and through all the waves and terror, one thing remains constant: Jesus was steady and on top of the waves. He gives but two commands. “Do not be afraid” and to “Come”. He’s asking the disciples, he’s asking us, to trust him. Trust the God of the universe who is steady on top of the waves, waiting for you to ask for his help, reaching out for you, so you can grab on and stand steady with him.