Bible Society of South Africa

Why did you doubt? - 11 October 2023

By Imogen Campbell

Bible text(s)

27Jesus spoke to them at once. “Courage!” he said. “It is I. Don't be afraid!”

28Then Peter spoke up. “Lord, if it is really you, order me to come out on the water to you.”

29“Come!” answered Jesus. So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water. “Save me, Lord!” he cried.

31At once Jesus reached out and grabbed hold of him and said, “How little faith you have! Why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:27-31GNBOpen in Bible reader

Man may have walked on the moon, but history shows that there has only ever been one man to walk on water besides Jesus himself, and that man was Peter. Have you ever stopped to wonder about the whereabouts of the other disciples at the time of his great feat? Why did they not join Peter on the water?

Well, the others were right there on that boat, already terrified from thinking that Jesus was a ghost. In a way, they could be likened to couch potatoes watching an action film from the comfort of their own home: they were taking it all in.

How easy it is to remember Peter as the one who had so little faith and doubted. It is not clear whether anyone else had any intentions of joining Jesus on the water, yet, Peter was the one who went and had the adventure of a lifetime.

Armchair critics, of course, could take a dim view from the sidelines. Yet like the true risk taker, Peter took a massive risk. How it contrasts with those who would not be caught dead making a mistake and always have their act together, even if it means playing it safe.

Somehow it reminds me of the famous Theodore Roosevelt quote: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, … who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

As life often works, the day will come when you and I will be called upon to step out in faith. I suppose time will tell how we respond.

But we don’t have to miss out on the action; we can grab our Bibles and develop deep convictions and great faith, so that when the opportunity comes, we will be ready.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, that the Christian life is an exciting one. Walking with Jesus is one of the greatest honours we can ever have, we are grateful to be among his followers. Amen

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