By His Power

“he walked on the water to go to Jesus”

Matthew 14:29

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Have you ever done something that you thought it was out of your power to do?  Years ago I watched an episode of the TV show MASH where Hawkeye (a surgeon) was talking with Mulcahy (the chaplain) and quoted a doctor from med school, who said, “God cures the patient, but the doctor takes the fee.”  Mulcahy replied, “Do you believe that?”  And Hawkeye shrugged and responded, “I’m able to do a lot of things in surgery that I’m not really good enough to do.”

Even as a child, I thought that was intriguing.  Hawkeye was a pretty confident, even arrogant character sometimes, and yet there was a glimpse of humility there.  He was gifted as a surgeon, and he knew it, but he recognized that he had gotten that gift from somewhere.

I think of that sometimes, when I re-read the account of Peter walking on the water.  Peter was an impulsive, even cocky man, but I think he also knew he was nothing without Jesus.  I had a conversation with some friends recently, about Peter’s maritime stroll, and we good-naturedly argued about whether it was a success or a failure for Peter.  He did walk on water, after all, but he also sank.

I personally am of the opinion that Peter should be commended for that experience.  It may have been impulsive for him to “command” Jesus to command him to come to Him, but when Jesus said, “Come,” he got out of the boat and came.  Yes, he doubted and yes, he sank, but that was only possible because of his courage and obedience in the first place.  He just allowed his fear to become bigger than his faith, and which of us hasn’t done that?

What I love most about this account, however, and the connection to Hawkeye, is in Peter’s acknowledgement, three times, of Jesus’ sovereignty.  He didn’t get out of the boat without Jesus’ command; he cried out to the Lord to save him when he began to sink; and he praised Him, along with the other disciples, once he was back in the boat.  He recognized that what he had accomplished had only been possible through Jesus.  He’d been given a gift ~ a temporary power, if you will ~ and he knew that he wasn’t capable of it without God.  And the biggest piece of evidence of Peter’s devotion to His Lord is in this verse:  “he walked on the water to go to Jesus.”  No showing off for the other disciples, no dancing with the joy of the miracle, just Peter going to his Jesus.

We can’t fail if we do nothing.  The other disciples didn’t sink, but that’s because they were safe in the boat.  And it could be argued, like Hawkeye, that everything we accomplish in our daily lives, from getting through the work day, to preparing dinner every night, is something we’re “not really good enough to do” without Him.

Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.  With God all things are possible.

 

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