Last week, Jesus had taken off for a bit of solitude, but a huge crowd found him

This week, Jesus returns to his previous goal: He’s aching for some solitude. So Jesus sends his disciples off by boat, sends the crowd home with their tummies full of bread and fish, and hikes up the mountain for some time in prayer.

Jesus puts a high priority on both solitude and on prayer.

Notice, also, what Jesus did with his solitude: He prayed.

When Jesus was done praying, his friends were, of course, far away. Who knows how they thought Jesus was going to catch up with them when he insisted that they leave him behind.

But Jesus knew how he would get there.  Jesus knew the shortest distance between two points was a straight line. So Jesus just took off walking straight toward his friends. Across the water.

Peter calls out to Jesus. Jesus tells Peter to come to him. There he goes! Peter is walking on water too — but then he sinks.  Peter’s courage is not the main point here. Yes, to walk on water we must get out of the boat. But this passage doesn’t really call all of us to walk on water. The passage focuses on what made Peter sink.

Peter looked down and noticed he was standing on water. That piece of relevant information would probably cause me to lose faith.

And losing faith is what Jesus accuses Peter of doing.

You of little faith, why did you doubt?   Matthew 14:31 NRSV

Peter apparently started his journey to Jesus with faith. He focused on nothing but Jesus, and was able to do something amazing. Peter was doing fine.

But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink…Matthew 14:30 NRSV

Peter’s attention drifted away from Jesus, and onto something completely irrelevant.

So the call is to give Jesus my full and continuous attention. If I’m looking at him, I won’t go too far wrong. Look at Jesus.  Keep moving toward Jesus.

Used with permission – Gary Neal Hansen, Ph.D Website & Blog: Book: Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History’s Best Teachers (InterVarsity Press, 2012)