The classic headfirst apostle is Peter – with little regard for how things could be done or should be done, he went for it. Long before Texas Hold ’em, Peter went “All In.” On one of our final nights in Haiti, I had the privilege of preaching to a crowd from the community who had come to join us for a free meal at the Center for Hope. About 200 adults and youth ate, listened to my friend Rick’s story of salvation, and learned about Peter’s courageous decision to step out of the boat (while ~80 children learned about Jesus and played a short distance away.)
All preconceptions are wiped clean when you tell a story no one’s heard before. So that night, I was able to paint a picture that many church-goers miss in the familiarity: Peter was the most courageous disciple in the boat. We’re quick to point out how Peter began to sink after a few steps onto the water – that his eyes left Jesus and the wind stirred his fears. But Peter’s faith only grew when he called out to Jesus for salvation, and Christ answered his prayer to “Save me!”
Think about it this way – at Peter’s request, Jesus called Peter to come to him on the water. 1) Peter obeyed Jesus. 2) Peter walked on water. 3) Peter called out to be saved – and was saved. And for those who didn’t pursue Christ headfirst? They were afraid that Jesus was a ghost. When Jesus told them to be courageous, and to not be afraid, they remained in the boat. They didn’t experience Jesus’ power over creation in walking on the water. They didn’t choose to trust Him with their very lives. They waited for Him to return to the boat. The good news is that Jesus did go to them in the boat – where they finally acknowledged Him as the Son of God and worshiped Him.
The message I shared in Haiti is that Jesus is calling people to come to Him, and if you will cry out, Lord save me, He will. The most courageous thing you can ever do is to call on Him, acknowledge that He has the power to save, that He is the Son of God, and worship Him. Many will laugh and mock, others will be frozen in fear, but those who go headfirst to Jesus experience His power in their lives. His resurrection and miracles demonstrated that He has power over life and death, and the power to forgive sin. On that night in Croix des Bouquets (near Port-au-Prince) fifteen of the youth stepped out of the crowd in courage and faith, and crossed the line that divides the kingdom of darkness from the kingdom of light. They chose to come to Jesus in faith and to worship Him.