“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. (Matthew 14:28-29)
If faith sees Jesus and desires Jesus, how do we really hear from Jesus?
We see that Peters walk of faith comes after he hears Jesus’ invitation to join Him upon the waves. Now that is wondrous to read about but what does that mean for our own lives?
The first aspect of hearing from Jesus is that we ask and wait. Peter does not jump out of the boat before talking with Jesus. Yes, he is bold enough to take the initiative to ask Jesus but Peter is not so foolish to try and walk out there without first hearing Jesus’ invitation. Faith responds to God. Faith hears because God first speaks. Our framework for understanding the dynamics of a living interactive relationship with the Living God through Jesus Christ must always be shaped around the deep truth that God speaks first and our lives are always a response to Him. I had a friend in college who jokingly said that in prayer he told God what to do. Of course, prayer is not really like that, anymore than any important relationship in our life is like that. Prayer is an interaction with God based in a loving relationship of trust by which we hear Him first and respond.
Out of that place, we begin to develop a living relationship with God. Now, many will say that our life with Christ is not like Peter’s interaction here in Matthew 14. This is true in the sense that Peter is talking with the incarnate Jesus upon earth. But it is no less true that we, by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, can interact with the Living God through Jesus Christ. So, let me invite us to once again renew a living relationship of faith that listens for God. How do we do that? Well, the primary ways are through first and most importantly paying attention to the guidance of Holy Scripture. After that we also hear from God by attuning ourselves to the inward promptings of the Holy Spirit, listening to godly counsel, and paying attention to how God speaks through our circumstances. You may want to read more about this in my earlier post “How Do We Hear from God Today?”
Consider some questions with me about what this episode in Peter’s life means for us today:
- What is God inviting you into these days? What steps of faith is God calling you into?
- Are you listening for the inward promptings of the Holy Spirit?
- Are you measuring those inward promptings against the Word of God – the Bible – which keeps us trustworthy and true?
May we be the sort of faith-filled disciples who not only fix our eyes on Jesus, but also open our ears to hear Jesus. As He said, “My sheep listen to my voice” (John 10:27).