No sooner does Peter recognize Jesus walking on the water than he is begging to join Him there.
One can almost hear Jesus’ voice in the text. He sounds like the father of a stubborn teenager who insists on working on his own, without Dad’s help. Dad knows he’s going to fail, and he also knows that the boy has to learn that for himself.
It doesn’t read this way, but this is how I hear it.
“Lord, if that’s really you, then tell me to come out on the water.”
Jesus sighs. What’s he to do? “Okay, then, come on.”
Peter takes but a few steps. His smile is broad. He even giggles. “I. Am. Walking. On. Water.”
He looks at Jesus, standing a few yards away with His arms outstretched. “Just a few more steps,” thinks Peter.
A spray of cold water pelts his face. To his right, he sees a swell as tall as he is. To his left, the boat pitches and yaws. He has lost sight of Jesus.
He sinks like a rock. Arms outstretched and legs kicking, he cries, “Lord, save me!”
Jesus reaches out and pulls Peter out of the water. “Ye of little faith,” Jesus says. Four little words that Peter will never forget.
As Jesus helps his friend into the boat, the winds calm. He leans over and whispers to Peter, “Why did you doubt?”
Peter is shivering. Andrew hands him a towel. He meets Jesus’ eyes, and quickly looks away. “I was scared,” he thinks.
“I should not have taken my eyes off of you.” That, too, is something that he would never forget.
Phineas Bresee, one of the founders of the Nazarene Church, used to say something like this. “Nothing to my left. Nothing to my right. Jesus only, straight ahead.”
Fear Not, but keep our eyes on Jesus.