We are just hours away from the New Year and this will be my last post this year. I share with you things I hear from other Christians, those in the Pew so to speak and from different materials I read on a regular basis. While writing this blog I have found that the biggest problem for us in the pews is the fact that we don’t read the word enough and make use of the numerous bible commentaries available to us today. Of course the best way to discernment of the word is the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Today I share with you from Matthew 14, verses 29-33. Today’s scripture comes from an article published in the Upper Room by Ciara Lilly and the commentary is from Barclay’s DBS. All sources used here other than my own comments are in “italics”.
And Peter answered him: ‘Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water.’ He said: ‘Come.’ Peter got down from the boat and walked on the water to come to Jesus. But, when he saw the wind, he was afraid; and, when he began to sink below the water, he cried out: ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and grasped him. ‘O man of little faith!’ he said. ‘Why did you begin to have doubts?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind sank. And those in the boat knelt in reverence before him, saying: ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’
This passage in the New Testament tells us three things about Peter.
(1) Peter was given to acting upon impulse and without thinking of what he was doing. It was his mistake that again and again he acted without fully facing the situation an without counting the cost. He was to do exactly the same when he affirmed undying and unshakable loyalty to Jesus (Matthew 26:33–5), and then denied his Lord’s name. And yet there are worse sins than that, because Peter’s whole trouble was that he was ruled by his heart; and, however he might sometimes fail, his heart was always in the right place and the instinct of his heart was always love.
(2) Because Peter acted on impulse, he often failed and came to grief. It was always Jesus’ insistence that people should look at a situation in all its bleak grimness before they acted (Luke 9:57–8; Matthew 16:24–5). Jesus was completely honest with people; he always urged them to see how difficult it was to follow him before they set out upon the Christian way. A great deal of Christian failure is due to acting upon an emotional moment without counting the cost.
(3) But Peter never finally failed, for always in the moment of his failure he clutched at Christ. The wonderful thing about him is that every time he fell, he rose again; and that it must have been true that even his failures brought him closer and closer to Jesus Christ. As has been well said, a saint is not someone who never fails; a saint is someone who after a fall gets up and goes on again every time. Peter’s failures only made him love Jesus Christ the more.
Olive Wyon, in her book Consider Him, quotes from the letters of the seventeenth-century Bishop of Geneva, a story about an unusual practice of that day but one that had a practical application. After drawing water from the well and the pail was full they always put a piece of wood into it. When asked why they replied, ‘Why? to keep the water from spilling . . . to keep it steady!’ Writing to a friend later on, the bishop told this story and added: ‘So when your heart is distressed and agitated, put the Cross into its centre to keep it steady!’ In every time of storm and stress, the presence of Jesus and the love which flows from the cross bring peace and serenity and calm.
It is my prayer that this New Year bring to you and yours the peace and serenity and clam that only the presence of Jesus can bring onto our lives.