Matthew 19:26 (ESV) “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Peter walked on water.
When I think about this story of Peter walking on water, I am often reminded of the more obvious lesson: Peter’s failure to keep his eye on Jesus caused him to begin to sink. This is a very important teaching, but I want to rewind the story and go back to the very beginning.
MATTHEW 14:22-30 NIV
Jesus Walks on the Water
“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd. After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. Later that night, He was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’
‘LORD, if it’s You,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to You on the water.’
‘Come,’ He said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘LORD, save me!’
Jesus allowed Peter to see His miracle. He was even allowed to see the wind. I remember the poem by Christina Rossetti that we recited when I was in primary school, ‘Who has seen the wind? Neither I nor you.’ God equipped Peter with the ability to go beyond his humanity. To see the impossible become possible. It is our LORD who creates possibilities of impossibilities. Nothing is too hard for Him. Nothing is impossible for Him. It is not just about us. It has never been about us solely. We could never please God on our own efforts, “for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).
Growing up in a strict family, my siblings and I were always told to look at whoever was addressing us in the eye. Not keeping our eyes locked in with the one who was talking to us was disrespectful and could also mean we were hiding something or not telling the truth. In my 20 something years of teaching, I have always taught my students the same lesson, to look at their audience and establish eye contact when they do presentations or even when they are talking to each other. I also have them look at me when we are having a lesson or discussion. It validates their interest in what we are doing and it makes me see the depth of their understanding. Where our focus is, is important.
I am sure a lot of us have heard of the profound saying, “the eyes are the windows to one’s soul.” In our main verse, it says, “But Jesus looked at them…” Jesus, looked at them! He showed them they were important. He also wanted them to focus on Him; to establish that relationship with Him and to show their readiness to engage with Him.
I could just imagine what it felt like to gaze into Jesus’ eyes. Moses in the Mt. Sinai was not allowed to see God as he wanted to. But here are Peter and the other disciples, given the chance to see a glimpse of God as revealed in human flesh through Jesus’ eyes. What a privilege!
How do we see God turn impossibilities to possibilities? We need to gaze into His eyes. We need to keep our focus on Him. We need to see beyond the mountains and surmounting challenges that come our way. We need to maintain our gaze and lock into His. God’s eye is always on us for “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13 NIV). We need to do the same with ours.