Come, Let's FOCUS (Part 2)
By sis Leong Mei Ji
Let’s consider Peter’s faith
On different occasions, Jesus said straight up to Peter that he had little faith.
In Matthew 14: 22-31, The disciples were in the boat out in the water and Jesus came to them walking on the water at night.
V25 onwards: “And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Here we see an example of Peter’s faith faltering as he allowed doubts to creep into his mind. Peter lost his faith when he took his eyes off Jesus and started to focus on the wind and the waves around him, instead of focusing on Jesus who was standing on the water in front of him. Little faith caused Peter to begin to sink.
It is easy for us to look at these examples and think that we would have a stronger faith in this situation if we were standing next to Jesus. We too have moments of doubt and unbelief, and our goal should be to strengthen our faith. As the hymn says, “when my love for Christ grows weak and for deeper faith I seek”, it is in these hours of trial and it is in these times of darkest hour, that we should look to the cross and the sacrifice that Jesus had paid for all of us. He died for us. We should be rejoicing, be convicted by our faith and obey Him no matter what He commands us. In 1 Peter 1:8, Peter writes “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.”
Peter had faith
In Luke 5: 4-6, Jesus said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” Peter, also referred to as Simon, responded, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But then Peter added, “But at your word I will let down the nets. And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.”
Peter was impressed by Jesus’ teachings and or perhaps he might have heard about Jesus before this. It required a level of humility on Peter’s part to listen to Jesus’ instructions and trust that Jesus knew more than they knew. Peter demonstrated his faith and put his trust in Jesus on this occasion.
Peter’s deeper and stronger faith
In Matthew chapter 17: 24-27, the Bible records, “When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others? And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”
Here we see Peter’s task was to catch a fish and in the mouth of the fish Peter would find a piece of shekel. The money would be used to pay the taxes for Jesus and for himself. This passage is often used as an example of strong faith. Peter went to do what Jesus told him to do without any doubt. Peter fully trusted Jesus. It was very encouraging to see Peter had grown to the point where if Jesus told him to go and do this, he did so. Peter had deeper and stronger faith to trust Christ.
We can strengthen our faith. Consider these passages.
1 Peter 5: 6-7
These two passages can take away a lot of the moments of doubts if we cast those moments of doubts to Jesus when we humble ourselves.
Psalms 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord”
When we are tempted and when temptations are put in front of us, it is very easy to act quickly and not think before we face the temptation. However, if we practice patience when we fall into temptation, patience can go a long way to strengthen our faith.
James 1: 12
Persevere through trials. Develop it as we seek to walk in the Christian faith.
Study God’s Word - The more we study and put into ourselves the Word of God, to find out what His path and commandments are for us, the better equipped we are with the shield of faith, to withstand those fiery darts of the devil and temptations that come our way. We should study the word of God daily.
Rev. 14: 12
Walk in obedience. Here is a call for the endurance of the saints for those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
We build up our faith in our heart. Growing our faith is a deliberate process, considering the importance of the time of study and prayer. The most important step in growing our faith is first having faith and we look to that faith which comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17).