They thought it was a ghost!
They thought it was a ghost!
Ever thought that what you were seeing was a ghost? And then discovered that it wasn’t? Let me tell you a story about some men to whom that once happened. It’s a true story, too, and one that has a very powerful message for every reader of this column.
The men in question were Jesus’ disciples and they had been told by him to get into their boat and make their way to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus himself wanted some time on his own to pray and so the disciples set off in the boat without him.
After some hours of rowing they still had a long way to go. A strong wind had been against them and progress had been slow. It had also by this time grown dark. Then it happened. The disciples spotted a figure coming toward them across the water. Not surprisingly they were terrified. What else could it be but a ghost? And they cried out in fear – the very thing, I suppose, that we would have done.
When the figure spoke to them, however, it was immediately apparent that this was no ghost but their own beloved Master, the Lord Jesus. Through the miraculous working of God’s power he had been able to walk to them across the water. And now he was about to join them in the boat.
Before he did so one of the disciples, the Apostle Peter, made an extraordinary request. He asked that he might come to Jesus on the water. Not only so but when Jesus gave him permission Peter boldly got out of the boat and began to walk toward him. It was amazing! But then he began to look around him, and as he saw how the wind was whipping up the water he began to be afraid. And when he began to be afraid he began to sink. And when he began to sink he cried out to Jesus, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately, we are told, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. You can read the whole story for yourself in Matthew’s Gospel Ch.14.
I have always found it to be a very helpful illustration of what we ourselves ought to do. The Bible is very honest with us. It tells us that we need to be saved – saved from our sins; saved from the coming judgment of God. And it tells us too that we cannot save ourselves. We cannot do anything about our guilt. We cannot deliver ourselves from God’s wrath. We have no power to mend our relationship with God. We cannot change our hearts. We cannot gain eternal life by our own efforts. We are just exactly like Peter as he sank beneath the waves – helpless!
So what then should we do? Sink into despair? Follow Peter’s example! What did he do when all seemed lost? He cried out to Jesus, ‘Lord, save me!’ And Jesus did.
Nor will it be different in your case. One of the most precious promises of the Bible is that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10.13). To call on the Lord’s name is an act of faith. You are to believe that he is able to help you and cry out to him to do so. And his promise is that your cry will be heard – as Peter’s was – and he will save you. Freely and lovingly he will grant to you deliverance from the guilt and power and punishment of your sin. And so too the immeasurable blessedness of eternal life.
Grace Baptist Church
777 W North Street
Carlisle, PA 17013