Matthew 14:28-30 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, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"
We know there is a God, from the existence of the world, from the testimony of our conscience, and from the scriptures. We know God’s will from the scriptures. We know God because he comes to us, through Word and Sacrament. This is rather important, because the rest of experience tells us that we come to know things as we find and discover them, but in the realm of faith – God finds us.
Remember Elijah from our OT lesson? He didn’t find God, rather God came to him. He had been running away, he feared for his life – and yet when God sends him back into the midst of the troubles, there are no questions. Because that is the nature of God – when he says he can and will do something – there is no doubt that something will be done.
And that is exactly the point on which our lesson turns – no doubt – Peter has doubts as to whether it is the Lord, and so he proposes a test – if it really is you, command me to walk on water. So Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water – but as he walked the strong wind caught his attention – and he became frightened – and he began to sink – then he cried out: Lord save me. And Jesus reached out and caught him.
What’s the point? The point is that these are not instructions on how we might walk on the water. Except perhaps when ice fishing, it is just not in God’s plans for us. What’s the point? The point is that Jesus can walk on the water, and he can do anything – well – that part of it – the larger part is that Jesus cares for us, and hears our prayers – and reaches out to help us in times of need. The real point is that Jesus is God, and is big enough to help us whatever our problems are – so there is no reason not to put our trust in him – for he is able to save.
What’s the point? It is that we should see Jesus as one how hears our prayers, who is able to save, and who truly is the Son of God. Because of what we see, we are able to put our trust in him for the things we cannot see – for once again the Word of God has revealed to us the depth of God’s love and mercy and compassion.
So, why is it that we doubt? For we are very much the same as Peter. Where do those doubts come from? We may infer that the doubts came upon Peter when he stopped focusing on Jesus, and began to be concerned with the wind. Our doubts have a similar origin – we loose our focus – our attention is drawn to other things.
And so it is that God gathers us together in the church that we might help and encourage one another to keep our eyes on Jesus – to remember that nothing is impossible for God – and to remember that God loves us, hears our prayers and answers them. And we also remember that God forgives our sins – which is important, as sometimes we doubt, but even for that we can be forgiven. That is the depth of God’s love for us in Christ.