Walking on Water | Summer Devotional 2022

You're never too far away from God to come back

Getting Started

Back in my “glory days” of playing high school football, my coach was famous for his motivational one-liners. During the dog days of summer – usually at the end of practice while running wind sprints – all I could think about was being done and getting back to the comfort of cold water and AC.  

At that point, as if reading our minds, Coach would often blow his whistle and yell: “If you want something you’ve never had, you have to be willing to do something you’ve never done.”

I wish I could say this was like waving a motivational magic wand that made the running easier. It didn’t. However, these doses of inspiration helped push me and my teammates out of our comfort zones and beyond our perceived limitations. 

Throughout Scripture, I am glad we don’t see God blowing his whistle to demand more sprinting from his people. Yet we do see story after story of God calling ordinary men and women out of their comfort zones to do extraordinary things. Think Noah, Abraham, Moses, Mary, and Peter to name a few. This week’s passage is one of those stories. 

Take a few minutes to read slowly through Matthew 14:22-33.

Matthew 14:22-33

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

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

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Questions to Consider

  1. Imagine the scene. What do you think the disciples were feeling? (v. 22-27)

  2. What is significant about Peter’s reaction? Jesus’ invitation? (v. 28-29)

  3. What did Peter learn about Jesus by stepping out of the boat?  How do you think this experience may have impacted his faith moving forward? (v. 29-33)

  4. How do you want to grow in your faith in this new school year? What do you want to see God do in the lives of your friends? Your chapter?

  5. With this in mind, what next steps might God be calling you to take beyond your comfort zone?

Closing Reflection

Right before this passage, the disciples witnessed and even participated in another incredible miracle with Jesus - the feeding of 5,000 with just a few loaves and fish (see Matthew 14:13-21).  

Now, instead of sailing off into the sunset, they find themselves in the middle of a life-threatening storm. To make matters worse, the disciples look out and see a ghost walking toward them on the water. Casual, right? But no worries – it’s just Jesus…

Pause for a moment: if you’re one of the disciples, once you get over the shock of the moment, is anyone else calling out to Jesus to calm this storm? Or at least to get in the boat to comfort us in the face of death?!

…And then there is Peter. Instead of pleading for better weather or clinging to the boat for comfort, Peter decides he is better off with Jesus – no matter what. After boldly asking Jesus for permission to join him on the water, Jesus invites Peter to “Come.” Then, at great risk, Peter was willing to trust like never before to do something no one else has ever done: walk on water with Jesus. Even though he eventually sank, Peter lived to tell the story and is still a proud world-record holder!

I wonder how often Peter thought back to this night and smiled – remembering Jesus’ invitation to join him in the impossible, his presence with him in the storm, and his power to save when he sank. Though the rest of Peter’s life and ministry was full of ups and downs, this experience with Jesus was a stepping stone to greater risks to come. And Peter’s unprecedented trust in this moment still has ripple effects today.  

As the summer winds down, take some time to consider: how do you – like Peter – want to experience God in new ways over this school year? How do you want to grow in your faith in the midst of classes, recruitment, relationships, and the joys and challenges of Greek life? How might God be calling you to take bold risks to grow and impact those around you? And most importantly, are you willing to trust him?

Like Peter, if we want to partner with God to do new and challenging things, we have to be willing to trust God in new and challenging ways. Here are a few practical tips from the passage as you prepare for the new school year:

  • Commit to taking risks. Decide now to step out of your spiritual comfort zone this year. Pray for opportunities to share your faith. Consider joining or starting a Bible study in your Greek organization. Ask God how you can use your major for ministry.
  • Keep your eyes focused on Jesus. Plan daily devotional time. Listen to uplifting worship music. Pray between classes. When you get busy or overwhelmed, don’t default to scrolling. Take time to journal and rest.  
  • Connect with a Christ-centered community. If you haven’t already, find a local church or campus ministry that will consistently point you to Jesus and support you as you take steps of faith. Remember, Greek IV is here for you!

Are you ready to get your feet wet? This year, may each of us hear Jesus’ invitation to “come” and respond like Peter with great faith. 

If we want something we’ve never had, we have to be willing to do something we’ve never done. If we want to walk on water, we have to get out of the boat.

Do you want to listen to the podcast recording of this devotional? Available now anywhere you get your podcasts! Here is the link to this week's episode.

About the Author
Regional Greek Coordinator


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