Get out of the Boat!

View the sermon here.

TEXT: Matthew 14:22-33
TITLE:  “Get Out of the Boat”
THESIS: We have to take the first step. 


  • We’ve all seen young children dare to take that first step. Then another, and then another – then they run – and climb – and watch out! They’ll try almost anything. … But the children have to take the first step.
  • As a parent, it was always hard to let go and let my children do that first thing – let go of the bike they’re learning to ride – let them leave the house with friends (and no adult) the first time – go on the first date – get behind the wheel of the car the first time – go off to college – get married – have children ….
  • Taking the first step is hard – whether it’s my step or someone I care about – but we never grow and learn and change in life without it.


  • In our story today, that “first step” for Peter was “a doozy.” 😊 A strong wind created high waves on the lake at night. The disciples struggled to row against the wind. It had been a long day – an exciting day of challenge and mystery as thousands of people were fed with only a little food. Jesus had sent them in the boat while he had gone off to pray by himself.
  • In the darkness, and the waves and wind – they saw Jesus walking on the water. A ghost? What? They were afraid until they heard Jesus: “Don’t be afraid.” …. And Peter blurted out, Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” – “Come,” Jesus said.
  • “Now what? What was I thinking? That was dumb!” … What will the others think of me if I don’t go out there? But how in the world can I do that? Walk on the water in the wind and the waves?
  • Then he got out of the boat! And walked on the water. – When he took his eyes off Jesus and looked around at the danger of his situation, he grew afraid again and began to sink, and Jesus had to rescue him. – But he DID walk on the water!


  • Peter took that first step. He didn’t lose his fear. His faith overcame his fear that held him back, and he got out of the boat and walked on the water.
  • I doubt any of us will literally walk on water, but we all face situations that feel almost as if that’s what we have to do. – We are afraid, anxious, paralyzed. We don’t know what to do, but “know” that we cannot stay where we are.
  • Peter’s situation wasn’t even a storm. Just wind and high waves. It may even have been a clear night and warm. But the danger of getting out of the boat kept everyone in it. … Peter was impulsive in his words, and probably regretted immediately that he had said, “Tell me to come to you.”
  • But he got out of the boat. He took the first step. He did what no one else did, except Jesus. He did the “impossible.”
  • It’s not “impossible” for children to take their first step, ride the bike on their own, go out safely on a first date, get married, and so on. … And whatever your situation may be today is not “impossible.” [With God, all things are possible.]
  • Jesus could not get out of the boat and take the first step for Peter. Peter had to do that himself. – When Peter got in trouble, Jesus was right there and helped him. – Will this be our story?
  • What is daunting in your life today? What creates anxiety and fear about what will happen? What do you have a sense that God is calling you to do – telling you to “come”?
  • Get out of the boat. Take the first step. Keep your eyes on Jesus, and do the “impossible.” You can do it.

Published by


Can you imagine a world of compassion and justice? How do we replace fear with hope for a better world? What can we do every day to build such a world? ... These questions are at the heart of what I write about. Follow my blog. Join Imagine - a learning community working for a better world. Let's do it together.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s