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Matthew Bauer

Matthew's Blog

You are here:  blog  >  September 2015

What Are You Looking At?

what-are-you-looking-at.jpgOne of my absolute favorite stories in the Bible is when Peter walks on the water (Matthew 14:22-33). After feeding the five thousand, Jesus sent His disciples out on the sea, telling them to go on without Him. He’d catch up later. It’s such a setup for what was going to happen, and I can just hear the objections of the disciples in my head.

“No, Master. Let us stay and help you (for the crowds had not yet dispersed).” Or “Come with us. Let the crowds take care of themselves.”

Surely, they did not want to be apart from Jesus, but He had other plans. And so they set out, and while they were sailing, a storm arose over the sea. The disciples were rowing for their lives, trying to keep the boat steady and in one piece, when suddenly, through the storm, they saw Jesus strolling past them, walking on the water.

“It’s a ghost!” they screamed, as if the storm didn’t shake them enough, and they were terrified.

Yet listen to Jesus’ reply: “Oh, be of good cheer! It is I!”

Of course, that’s just a translation, but tell me that’s not funny! Here the disciples are in over their heads, fighting to stay afloat in the midst of a storm, and now they think they’ve seen a ghost. And all Jesus says to them is, “Be of good cheer.” I love it!

Anyway, Peter calls out to Jesus and says, “Lord, if it really is You, call me out onto the sea with You.” And so Jesus called to him, and Peter stepped out onto the sea.

Now, I imagine the sea was pretty turbulent in the midst of the storm, and that would make it rather difficult to walk on, in my opinion, besides the fact that walking on water defies all our scientific understanding and natural law. But it doesn’t say that Peter stumbled across the water or that he struggled his way to Jesus. It simply says he walked—just like any man walks—confidently placing one foot in front of the other and walking straight toward Jesus.

And I don’t know how far away Jesus was, but I do know that Peter walked straight up to Him, because the Scripture says he was within an arm’s reach of his Savior. And when Peter was that close, he finally realized what he was doing (that’s one of the great redeeming qualities of Peter—that he often acted before thinking through what he was really doing). He saw the waves and felt the wind and the rain, and in that moment of distraction, he abandoned his trust in God and put it back on his own understanding. Then quickly he began to sink, and he cried out to Jesus to save him.

Jesus stretched out His hand and caught Peter, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the storm ceased.

As long as Peter’s eyes were fixed on Jesus, he continued to walk out the call of God in his life. He continued in the impossible, because he never turned his gaze from the one in whom all things are possible. But the moment he turned his gaze away and looked at his circumstances, he began to sink into the turbulent waters around him.

Now, you may have heard me talk before about directing horses, but basically, they go in the direction they’re facing. If you want to turn the horse, you only need to turn its head. And when we turn our heads to look at the impossibilities around us—when we focus on the turbulence of the journey—that’s exactly what we’ll find . . . impossibility, confusion, and instability.

Quite simply, if we’re not looking at Jesus, we’re going the wrong way. Period. And yes, Jesus came to point us to the Father, which should be our ultimate goal, but Jesus said that no one can come to the Father except through Him. That’s because Jesus is the one walking in front of us. If we want to know where to go, we have to follow Him. But look to the left or to the right, and we’ll be lost.

That begs to ask, what are you looking at?
Posted: 9/17/2015 11:08:47 AM by Matthew Bauer | with 0 comments