Out of the mouths of babes! Recently, as my granddaughter and I were reading a children’s Bible, we read about Jesus walking on water. She asked me if I knew why Peter sank into the water after walking a few steps on top of the water. She couldn’t wait for me to answer and blurted out: “He took his eyes off Jesus Christ!” I loved it! It wasn’t a pat recitation answer. She meant it!
The events leading up to this account are amazing. For Jesus, he had had a huge day. He had recently heard about the execution of his cousin John. People were following him everywhere he went. He taught and healed and fed 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread and two fishes. His life manifested the miraculous, the compassion and love he had for God and for people. At the end of the day he must have been absolutely wiped out. He sent his disciples off in the boat and alone he went up to a mountain to pray.
The weather caused havoc with the disciples in the boat. Stormy winds and waves replaced the thoughts of the miraculous day and gave way to fear. God got Jesus to the scene on foot on top of the choppy sea. It must have been tremendously encouraging, exciting, reassuring and energizing. Imagine what was in Peter’s mind looking at Jesus manifesting such a huge example of the power of His Father. Jesus was encouraged too. Now that was explosive fellowship!
I love the Lord Jesus Christ and I love being with others others who share the same love. A community of people who regard Jesus Christ as the head of the church is exciting to share. It is interesting when we spiritually start see the church that is built around us. We do not have to be blinded by the things of this crazy world. Encouragement and focus on the things of God which includes having relationships with those who don’t water down or dis God’s word, keeps us atop of life’s waters and away from looking down. It keeps us from sinking or trying to navigate choppy waters by ourselves.
Matthew 16.18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter (Petros – a stone), and upon this rock (Petra – huge mass of rock) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
The expression ‘gates of hell’ is used only once in the Bible and biblical students disagree over what it means. Keeping it simple, I look at it as a doorway to all things destructive. I can think of many examples of gateways: television, media, education, politics, people, religion and all things that feed on our insecurities. These things are not necessarily evil, but they are doorways to our minds. A mind that is focused on Jesus Christ as Lord belongs to the ‘church’. Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone of the church. The cornerstone provides direction and the building of the church. An interesting note is that this is the first use of ‘church’ in the New Testament.
What does this all mean to each of us? When we see God work in our lives and when we pray for things that don’t immediately drop out of the sky, we keep bringing God’s word to our mind whenever one of these gates swings open to doubt. The apostles got a good taste of this in the boat. After seeing such amazing displays of God’s power that day, ‘weather gate’ just happened to pop up to shake up their re-joying over the events while sailing across the sea under the stars. It opened another door and a greater power became visible as the solution because ‘greater is he that was with them than he that is in the world.’