A Heart Like Peter
The Apostle Peter is a man I have been drawn to in Scripture. I think, in some ways, who I am relates to who he was. I am by no means the zealous witness that he became (yet), but deep down I desire the same thing he did... to be close to Jesus.
One of my favorite portions of Scripture is the end of the gospel of John. It is the final account that John gives of Jesus appearing to his disciples before ascending to heaven. They had been out all night fishing and had caught nothing. Then Jesus suddenly appeared and called out from the shore telling them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. When they followed His instruction, the net was so full that it was too heavy to haul. Here again, Jesus was showing His “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19) that “apart from Him they could do nothing” (John 15:5). Here is what I love the most about this story. John writes that as soon as Peter heard that it was Jesus on shore he jumped off of the boat and swam. Fully clothed! One hundred yards! John MacArthur describes Peter's train of thought quite simply in his book Found: God's Will. In it he writes:
"Jesus is over there. I am over here. That is not good. I must go over there."
It's as simple as that! Whenever I read that story I think of that one scene in the movie Forrest Gump when Forrest gets a call saying his mom is sick. Not a second passes before he jumps off the boat and starts swimming.
We can find Peter’s same desire in Matthew 14. Once Jesus called out to him, Peter began walking on water. He wanted to be near Jesus. The Bible says that once Peter “saw the wind, he was afraid" and began to sink into the water (v. 29). He “saw the wind” because all of this took place in the middle of a storm. Earlier in the story Matthew writes how the boat they were in was “buffeted” by waves, so much that it carried them away from the shore (v. 24). Once Peter felt the wind affecting his balance, and saw the waves crashing into each other he began to fear. Well, if it wasn’t until Peter saw the wind that he feared, what was he looking at before then? Jesus! In the middle of the storm he had the hope that it was Jesus! He knew that Jesus would protect him. He knew what Jesus was capable of, and all he wanted was to be near Him. Forget about the storm... forget about the fact he would have to walk on water... Peter was ready to endure anything because of the hope that he would be closer to Jesus. Even when he forgot that hope and began to sink Jesus still reached out and picked him up out of the water. What peace we have in knowing that even in those moments when we are not reaching out to Him, He will still reach down to us (Romans 5:8).
Friends, we have been given a hope that will endure anything. Remember that.