And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.
What would it have been like to have been one of disciples in the boat? Jesus has just scared the heck out of them, the winds are still raging and now they see impetuous Peter going overboard? They watch Peter walk on water for a bit and then they watch as Jesus saves the sinking Peter. They hear Jesus rebuke Peter for doubting rather than encouraging him for getting out of the boat. And as the wind ceases they fall down and worship the Son of God. Daylight comes and they are once again on dry land.
This image presents a picture of what it is sometimes like to follow Jesus. In the midst of a stormy trial we often sit in our boat scared to death about the wind. And when God shows up we don't recognize him as he walks towards us. Sometimes we ask God if we can jump ship and he allows it even though he knows we will sink.. and we experience his gentle rebuke. Then the stormy trial passes and all we can do is worship Him and acknowledge who he is.
I think that the last few verses of this passage are so filled with hope as people are healed as they simply, in faith, touch the fringe of Christ's robe. It directs me back to Peter. Little faith will sometimes cause us to walk on troubled waters for a bit and it will sometimes bring healing in a simple act of desperation. There is nothing formulaic about faith.. be it little or large.. faith simply comes when we fix our eyes on Jesus and not the winds and the waves.
Help me to keep my eyes on you Jesus.. in troubled and calm waters.