"'Lord, if it is you,' Peter replied, 'tell me to come to you on the water.' 'Come,' he said."What are some of the possible implications or lessons we can learn from Yeshua' response? Each of these possibilities has a lesson for us.
1. Response Yeshua responds. The fact that Yeshua even spoke shows us He responded to Peter—just like He responds to any of us who address Him. We do not know if Peter pondered his proposal by thinking carefully or whether, more likely, he spontaneously or thoughtlessly just said quickly what came to his mind. In either case, Yeshua responded. God responds. That is a simple and beautiful truth. He is listening, attentive, caring, and aware. If Yeshua were not listening and responding to humans (in this case Peter calling from the boat) there would be no "come" from Him—ever—or for anyone—ever.
The prophets of Baal and Ashtoreth, in sharp contrast to Peter's situation, leaped, slashed and shouted, but no one said anything or responded. "Baal, answer us! They shouted. But there was no response; no one answered" (I Kings 18:26). And later: "But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention" (I Kings 18:29). Baal did not respond because Baal could not respond. Sometimes people will not respond to us, but God always will. Peter shouted across the water to Yeshua who promptly responded. You may expect a response. Anticipating a response will help you to watch for it. Look for it in a dream, voice, revelation, the Word, or counsel from a friend. God has many alternatives for communication with us, but are we listening? Equally important, will we accept His response—whether it is "come" or "stay"? These are important questions.
2. Approval Yeshua is happy when we accomplish something for Him. He wants us to succeed. He wants us to be fruitful. Yeshua wants you to do something. I don't know what Yeshua wants you to do. Perhaps you do not now know what Yeshua wants you to do. But assume Yeshua wants you to do something—something for Him. Find that something and do it for Him. We may, can and should do it confidently, not only to fulfill our own desire for accomplishment, but also to fulfill His desire for us to accomplish something.
3. Agreement Yeshua agrees with good things. If you have a good thought, expect that Yeshua will agree with it. On the contrary, if your idea is not good, allow Him to veto it.
4. Affirmation When Yeshua approves of your idea and agrees with you, that is also an affirmation to you. The more often our ideas are right, the more He will approve of them and affirm us. We need to remain humble and submissive so He always has the right to say, "No."
5. Permission Yeshua responds thoughtfully with a yes or no answer and this time to Peter He responded positively. He agreed with Peter. He instructed Peter to do what Peter wanted to do. If it had not been good for Peter, I assume He would not have said, "Come." When Yeshua responds to us it is an encouragement, but when He responds positively, it is more so. Consider this. He said, "No" to the mother of James and John. Yeshua says "no" enough times that when He says "come," we can know it is not a thoughtless, careless, automatic answer just to stop us from bothering Him. We don't "bother" Him, and He is glad to engage us in meaningful conversation. He has an opinion, a will, an intention, and is willing to communicate it to us. He gave Peter permission by saying, "Come." He said, "You may."
6. Encouragement Yeshua gave Peter more than just permission. Think of a little child learning to walk as his or her parents encourage him or her to take yet more steps. Saying "come" in such cases is the sound of encouragement giving the child confidence. When Yeshua says "come," He is also saying you can—"you can do this."
7. Action When Yeshua says "come" He is inviting you to action. You must make a move. He says to us, "Come," He does not come and get us, pick us up and move us. We act.
8. Challenge Yeshua said, 'come," He was also saying "don't just stay in the boat." Where we are and what we are doing may be familiar and comfortable to us. Yeshua invites us to be stretched by a new experience. He can comfort and He can challenge. Both are necessary and each will be given as the occasion requires.
9. Adventure God is creative. He was creative and He is still creative. He created us and then recreates us. He not only makes a new creation of us, but also continuously improves us by leading us through ever new learning experiences.
10. From This word reminds us that to come means we necessarily are going out of or away from the old. By this was Yeshua saying, "If you remain where you are you will be in the wrong place. It was okay for you to be there up until now, but if you remain there any longer after having asked me if you can come to me, you will fall short of my plans for you"? Where are you, my friend? You are not in a vacuum. You are not nowhere, but rather somewhere. You have a situation, a circumstance, a set of conditions, an atmosphere, with physical, emotional, social, career-related, family-related surroundings. Would a change of location be to you a deliverance from boredom and unfruitfulness to adventure, challenge, and fruitfulness? Or could a change of location for you represent a transition from sorrow, pain, sickness, loneliness, confusion to comfort, rest, health, companionship, meaning and order? If you were not already where you are, would you move there? If you were not already doing what you are doing, would you begin to do it? Has normalcy bias preconditioned you to expect your present condition to continue? Do you want to be proactive and change locations?
11. To We could also use the word "toward"—something new. Obeying Yeshua when He says come represents more than just a change in location. It means we change from something to something else. Here are several possibilities. From old habits to new patterns, from disobedience to obedience, from boredom to adventure, from resistance to being yielded, from sin to righteousness, from darkness to light, from self-centeredness to God-centeredness, from one career to another career or from one kind of character to another kind. Contrasting what you are considering leaving with whatever you would be moving to when you respond to the "Come" of Yeshua may help you realize the advantages of the change Yeshua is offering you.
12. With Upon arrival you will be with Yeshua. Yeshua was not with the disciples in the boat. He was somewhere other than with the disciples. Yeshua was out on the stormy water busy demonstrating His power over nature. He was traveling to the disciples who needed Him, but He was not yet with them. In the larger picture, He was on His way to Bethsaida and His next activities there. When Yeshua said "Come," to Peter, could that instruction have included the idea that Yeshua welcomed Peter to be nearer to Himself? Wherever Yeshua is is where I want to be. Each person must determine what God is doing and do it with Him. I would rather be near Yeshua on the storm-tossed waves than removed from Yeshua' presence though "safe" in a boat. Safety is not as important to me as obedience. Obedience may take us into perceived or even actual danger, but still obedience is superior to safety.
"With" is a wonderful word. This is the best part when Yeshua is the One we are to be with. When we "Come" toward Yeshua we get to be with Him. What delightful companionship is available when we are with Yeshua! We will travel together with Him. Never again alone. Never again bored. Never becoming stagnant; always growing and progressing. Yeshua moves. If we don't move with Him we are the looser. Yeshua is good company. Let's be with Him.
13. Progress/Advancement/Improvement Was Yeshua offering Peter progress? In saying "Come" to you, is Yeshua offering you an opportunity to take a step of advancement? Yeshua never invites us to regress. Neither does He want us to become stagnant. He wants improvement, progress, growth and development. Living organisms change and grow. Are you alive? God is able to take all of the collective experiences of your past and cause them to converge in such a way that your best and most fruitful years are yet ahead for you. But if you do not move when Yeshua says "Come," you will not grow—at least you will not grow like you could.
14. Forward The Bible is not oriented toward believer's past, but toward their future. "Remember Lot's wife." She looked back. Faith in Yeshua leads us to be forward looking. The devil wants to remind us of our past, but God wants to talk to us about our future. Paul wrote, "Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Yeshua ha Messiah" (Philippians 3: 13, 14). When Yeshua says "come" He may be inviting us to move forward and stop looking backwards. Faith is more fun than regret. The future will be better than the past if Jesus is saying, "Come."
15. Enablement Would Jesus ask Peter to do something Peter could not do? In these words was Yeshua communicating the notion that God would make Peter able? Was the enabling power of God promised or implied in the command? We can argue from results since we know what eventually actually did happen. Peter was enabled to walk on the water. People do not usually do that. This extraordinary walk was only possible because the power of God worked contrary to nature; something that was heavier than water did not sink into the water. Is there a lesson here? Is Yeshua illustrating that any time God tells us to do something He also enables us to do it. He does not ask us to do what we cannot do. Asking us to do something could therefore mean that God will make us able to do it. We can if we will.
16. Process A walk with Yeshua is not static. We must keep up-to-date. Come again and again. If we learn to come toward (or to) Yeshua, coming could and should be habit-forming. We begin to live in a process of continue growth, expansion, and improvement which lead to complete self-realization.
17. Command Does God feel so strongly about our development, adventure, fruitfulness, and progress that He commands it? Is it possible that even before we thought of walking on the water, our walking on the water was what God wanted for us, so He placed the thought in our hearts only to eventually command it in response to our asking if we should come. Is God telling you to "come?"
18. Move/Change By this, did Yeshua mean to communicate, "Move, Change"? God leaves it up to us to take action. You must take the action. "Come" is the invitation, but even if He says "Come," unless you move, the "Come" has no result. "Come" is an opportunity, but the movement depends on you. What will you do if the Lord says "Come" to you? Will you take the active role? Or will you remain passive?
By saying "Come," did Yeshua intend to communicate that Peter needed to make a change? Do we have the right to assume that we will always be where are and always be doing what we are doing? Do you resist change? Do you want change? Where will you be in ten years if you don't change? Where could you be in ten years if you did change? Are you moving with (changing with) the times and circumstances God has allowed to come your way? If you respond when Yeshua says "Come," then change for you is inevitable.
19. The Human Will You are the one to decide. "Come" presents you with an alternative to your present situation. Yeshua's message to you, "Come," may demonstrate positive response, permission, enablement, His desire for you, an invitation to be close to Yeshua, movement, a change of location and a change in the circumstances in the new location, but none of this matters if you do not exercise your will and decide to "come" when Yeshua says, "Come." Will you regret it if you remain? Will you regret it if you move?
20. Results Where will you be in ten years if you "come" at Jesus' invitation? Is that a better alternative than for you to be where you will be if you remain where you are? First select the results you want and then select the course of action that leads to those results.
21. Where? My answer would be "Wherever Yeshua is." Where is Yeshua and what is He doing? Wherever that is I want to come to Him. Because He is everywhere and doing lots of things the "where" for each of us will be different.
22 Authority/ownership Jesus would not command if He did not have authority/ownership. I met a man walking his dog as I was completing an exercise run early one morning. When he passed me, I heard him tell his dog to come to him. He said "Bo!" which is "come" in Hebrew. Did this man tell every dog he met on the street to "come?" Did he talk this way to everyone? No. He talked that way to this dog because this dog was his. Yeshua does not tell everyone or just anyone to "come," but if He tells you to come, He is showing ownership, interest and authority.
23. Contrast this invitation with another—to Comfort the Weary and Burdened "'Come,' he said." Peter was safe in the boat. Is safety a priority with Yeshua? Are we always in the safest place when we are with Yeshua? No. In saying "come," Yeshua was saying, in this case, "Leave your place of safety and normalcy and come to adventure, danger, drama, impossibilities and even possible failure." But on the other hand, and in other circumstances, Yeshua, when it is appropriate with consideration to human weakness, sorrow, disappointment, grief, or anxiety of the person to whom He is talking, saying "come" is an invitation to comfort and encouragement. But not this time to Peter. He does say come to the weary and heavy-hearted, but in healthy circumstances, He says "come" to growth, development, adventure, accomplishment and challenges. Yeshua's invitation will be appropriate in every case. He tailors His answer to the occasion, strength of the disciple, and difficulty of the adventure.
25. Another Contrast this with yet another—someday our bridegroom will return for us. Or if our time to join Him through death is earlier, He will individually invite each part of His bride to join Him. In either case—through death or the rapture of the saints—the day will come when Yeshua says "come" to us. Then we will enter into the joys of our Lord. Our tears will be wiped away. I want to be ready to respond to that invitation too, but, meanwhile, I want to respond with faith and confidence to His every invitation to progress in my walk with Him.