2010-05-20 - The Old Dog
Matt 14:30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Friday night we ran to a local eatery for dinner just as a storm was rolling into town. We got inside just before it really started to rain. It was quite a show with thunder and beautiful branching fingers of lightening. Rain fell in wind driven sheets so hard at times that the building across the lot became difficult to see. The blurry gray image was all that could be seen of it as lights shown through its windows dimly. As the storm passed the building became clear to see again. The trees and surrounding area which had been all but completely obscured reappeared.
Sunday morning during my Pastor's sermon he stopped and made a quick side point but with some emphasis on the above verse, which in and of itself was something of a side point. I have heard for years and understood that Peter began to sink because he took his eyes off Jesus. I have even said it to some of you! Read the verse again. Nowhere in that verse of the surrounding text does it say that Peter took his eyes of his Messiah. It could be implied but it is never stated.
God clearly has a method of how to beat something into my hard head. In the previous verse Peter takes and enormous step of faith. He and his friends have seen Jesus walking on the water in the storm and were afraid they had seen a ghost and were "terrified". Jesus identifies Himself assuring the disciples not to be afraid. Peter asks Jesus to command Peter to come to Jesus on the water. And Jesus simply says, "Come." Peter complied leaving the boat and walking toward Jesus on the Sea of Galilee. What an amazing moment in time.
Consider an alternative to Peter taking his eyes off Jesus - the storm intensifies just like the storm we witnessed through the restaurant windows to the point where it became more difficult to see Jesus through the wind and the rain. Just like the storms in our lives when the Savior Who loves us becomes a little harder to see through the pouring rain. Like Peter it is not unusual for us to become afraid or frustrated in our faith while still looking right at Jesus struggling to stay on course.
The title identifies me - the old dog who was just taught something that was right in front of him all the time. The second lesson is to read what is there and not what we think is there. It is possible that Peter did take his eyes off the Lord, but to say so categorically without knowing that is the case is not fair to Peter or the text.
God used a thunderstorm and my faithful Pastor to correct this old dog and remind him to read a little more carefully.
Grace & Peace,