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Friday, April 2, 2010

"Lord Save Me!"

"During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. 'It's a ghost,' they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: 'Take courage! It is I, Don't be afraid.'

'Lord if it's you,' Peter replied, 'tell me to come to you on the water.'

'Come,' he said

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, 'Lord, save me!'

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?'

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, 'Truly you are the Son of God.'

Matthew 14:25-33 (NIV)

This is a favourite story for Sunday School children. Nevertheless, it is as much an historical event as the creation of the universe described in Genesis 1 and the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth described later in Matthew's account of activities surrounding the Christ.

Truly, a miracle occurred on this otherwise normal night some 2,000 years ago in the Middle East. Laws of Physics repeatedly observed in our world tell us the event described by Matthew was out of order. The physics are just not right for men to walk on water. The choppy waters only added to the difficulty. Yet there it was, it happened and, in the mind of eye witnesses it was as much an unlikely event as we would expect today.

Laws of Physics were overridden and capacity for this rested in Jesus of Nazareth. For Simon Peter to walk on the water required faith that Jesus of Nazareth had capacity to order him to walk on the water. In declaring this, Simon Peter was declaring that it was not just a carpenter and religious teacher from Nazareth before him but one with capacity to order creation.

Simon Peter acts on his faith and is enabled to walk on the water. It is then that problems arise for him. Simon Peter begins to feel the force of the wind and its effect on the waves. His faith in the word of Jesus is eroded by the seeming strength of the natural world around him. He loses heart and begins to sink into the water. Thankfully, he knew who to call upon for help. He calls to his Lord, Jesus. It interests me that Jesus did not respond with a word of order such as "Come" as he did at the outset but instead extends his hand to pull Simon Peter up from the water. Why?

Simon Peter set out on his walk with his Lord trusting in the the word of his Lord but the influence of the world caused him to falter. His condition became a sorry example of faith to those around him. His example was a discouragement to others who may have wanted to step forward trusting in the word of the Lord. One can only imagine his colleagues becoming stilled in helplessness as they watched their colleague slowly sinking in the water.

As already indicated, Simon Peter had sufficient faith to know who to call to for rescue from drowning. He called to his Lord Jesus. Jesus responded in mercy but not with a word of enablement but a hand of help and a word of chastisement for Simon Peter's now exposed doubt.

I cannot help viewing this incident without seeing comparison with many Episcopalians in Sydney. They set out in their walk with the Lord Jesus Christ with a declared faith in his word but, unknown to them and to others, there exists a certain shallowness in their faith. Buffeting from the world soon exposes their weakness. They falter and prove themselves a poor example for others to trust implicitly in the word of the Lord. Many, I expect, trust sufficiently to call on the Lord to deliver them to the Father's 'safe shore' but what example have they been to others to trust in the word of the Lord? To what extent have they quenched the Spirit of the Lord? To what extent have they been a handicap to the growth of the church?

No clearer example of faltering faith in the word of our Lord is found in their treatment of Genesis 1, Exodus 20:11 and 31:17 for understanding Origins. We here seldom agree with Richard Dawkins but he got it right when he recently said words to the effect of "The writing is on the wall for those who try to make the Bible compatible with Evolution." The notion of Evolution is a dead hand for Christians. It is, as Richard Dawkins says, incompatible with the Bible. To embrace it exposes a distrust in the word of God.

The utterances of God in Exodus 20:11 and 31:17 are as much unmistakable and authoritive as our Lord Jesus Christ's utterance recorded in Matthew 14:29 wherein he says "Come."

Sam Drucker


neil moore said...

Yes, the disappointments of Connect 09 have resonance with this view. Thanks for the reminder Sam.


Anonymous said...

good~ keep sharing with us, please....I will waiting your up date everyday!! Have a nice day........................................

sam drucker said...

Thanks to you both. I hope to give a couple of small sermons in coming weeks.

Sam Drucker

Critias said...

Did you see Dawkins on the ABC Tv the other night? He really saw acceptance of evolution by clerics as they undermining themselves...of course, they wouldn't see it that way, but just that they are sharp modern kinds of folks...while the world splits its sides as they would take the church to oblivion...but for Christ, of course.

neil moore said...

Critias, I'm not sure what televison footage you refer to but I am aware of recent footage where he says similar things.

Many clergy, acting like monkeys are lured out on a branch only to find the branch will be cut off behind them and that "faith" they profess and promote will come crashing down with them.


Critias said...

What I saw was on ABC TVs Q and A, he held forth in his usual manner, of course.