Well we were lucky this month, Friday the 13th fell on a Wednesday . . . anyway, this Wednesday I felt a lack of energy in myself. Don’t get me wrong I had energy, but I felt a little drained. I’m excited that for the most part my first 3 months of ministry seem to be on a high for me! This past week I spoke out of John . . . I mean Matthew 14:22-33. This is the passage where Peter walks on water. Yes I said Peter. Sure Jesus walks on water, it’s Jesus, would you expect any less? I don’t want to discount the power of God Christ, or even say it’s not impressive, but as I said in my lesson I don’t think that the point of the story was to show Jesus walking on water, but to really show that Peter a mere human being who is not God like Christ, can walk on water! That is astounding to me!
Now if you really know the background of the Rabbi and Disciple relationship. Peter being the disciple of the Jesus the Rabbi would have wanted to to do and be everything that his Rabbi did and was. So when Peter looks out and sees a figure walking on the water, and realizing it’s Jesus wants to do it. I think our English translation short changes us a little. Sure it takes faith, and sure Peter loves Jesus, but the the whole context of the relationship and situation really involve the Rabbi and Disciple relationship. Peter wanting to be like his Rabbi wants to walk on water. So Peter tells Christ to call him out to him, which Jesus does. Then Peter, just jumps out of the boat and HE WALKS ON WATER. The text actually says ‘Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink.’ You’ll notice I italicized any part that refers to Peter. You’ll also notice in the reading that it only mentions Jesus once, as the person that Peter walks to. He made it to Jesus.
So here is where I’m going with this. Peter believed enough in himself to be like Jesus that he could walk on water. He walked to Jesus because he wanted to be with and like him. The application is this, pursue Christ, and have faith in yourself to do amazing things for him. Now you might be saying, “Matt, this seems rather heretical. I mean Jesus is the source of our power through God.” Yes that is true. But lets look at Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through He who strengthens me.” and then Psalm 8:5 “You have made him (us) a little lower than God.” What? Don’t tell me that from those two passages you don’t get we have power? I’m not saying that we can do it all on our own, I’m saying that we need to believe in our gifts and abilities and trust in God to give us the strength to use them in powerful ways. If you look in 2 Cor. 12:10b it says “for when I am weak, then I am strong.” I take this to say that by ourselves, despite our natural gifts and abilities, we are weak and not able to do anything. But with Christ, with our natural gifts and abilities, we have strength.
I have heard people say that God works best when we are weak, well to be honest we are always weak. I’ve also heard it said that God doesn’t use our strengths but our weaknesses. I say poppycock, why would God give us gifts and passions to use these gifts then not use them? I don’t disagree with the idea that God works through our weaknesses, He’s God sure he can, and has and will again, but He also uses our strengths! I use myself as an example. God is using me in my strengths here in Yakima, my strengths in Music, Worship, Speaking, Relationship building, Shepherding. If God didn’t use our strengths then I would not be a Youth Pastor I’d be a Children’s pastor, or an Engineer (I’m givin’ her all she’s got!)
So that is more or less what I talked about, plus some after thought and processing. Worship was solid, small team, so felt empty but it was a good team. And we played ‘steal the bacon’ the students here had never heard of it, but it was fun, and we all had a great night!