“… ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted.” Matthew 14:30 (NLT)
It’s a simple prayer. It’s short but effective! “Save me, Lord!” I call it the 911 prayer! Aren’t you glad that prayer doesn’t have to be long and impressive to be effective? If Peter had prayed like so many in churches pray today, I’m afraid he would have drowned before he got to “Amen!”
Peter knew he was in trouble. Matthew tells us in verse 30 that “when Peter saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.” Peter had done the impossible. In response to Jesus’ invitation to come to Him walking on the water, Peter stepped out of the security of the boat into the storm! He was walking on water. Yet, when he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the storm around him, his faith weakened, and he began to sink! It was then that he wasted no time and cried out, “Lord, save me!” Notice the response. “Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed Him. ‘You have so little faith,’ Jesus said, ‘Why did you doubt Me?’” (Vs. 31)
Matthew doesn’t even say that Peter reached out to grab the side of the boat. He said Jesus reached out and grabbed Peter. Jesus was his only hope! When you are in a position that all you have is Jesus, you’ll discover that Jesus is all you need! I can almost see Jesus reaching out to grab Peter by the scruff of the neck and pull him up out of the water and into the boat. When they got back into the boat, Matthew said the wind stopped and the storm ceased! This was the second time the disciples had witnessed Jesus’ power over storms when they were in a boat. The Bible says the disciples worshiped Him saying, “You really are the Son of God!” (Vs. 33)
Peter teaches us some practical lessons for overcoming our fears and reaching out to those who are drowning today. If we are to conquer our fears, we need to:
- Move forward in faith when we feel afraid. Peter stepped out of the boat in response to Jesus’ invitation to come to Him.
- Stay focused on Christ’s love instead of the waves. It was only when Peter took his eyes off Christ that he began to sink.
- Cry out to God when I’m sinking.
- Worship the God who controls it all!
Beyond the lessons of faith Jesus taught Peter and His disciples that day, is a challenge for us today to reach out to those who are drowning in fear, worry, and anxiety. We have Jesus living in us as Christ followers. We can be the message we proclaim by reaching our hand out to those in need, just as Jesus reached out to grab Peter. John must have caught that when he saw what Jesus did for Peter. He would later write in 1 John 3:17-18 these words, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth!” (NIV) Your hand reaching out will demonstrate the love of God beyond what words alone could ever do.