“Little Faith” is a mixture of courage and fear!
Many stories of the bible emerge from a specific historical context. To be understood one must explore the cultural reference they refer to. That is why the Bible needs to be studied and not just read, or made into an idol and worshipped.
In the biblical time when God comes to the rescue of his people, when light gives way to darkness Jesus walks on water toward the disciples who struggle against the storm. Jesus provides divine protection. But his saving presence does not mean that there are no more storms.
So despite the storm Peter leaves the security of the boat and follows Jesus. He manages to walk on water until, scared by the storm he sinks and Jesus has to drag him back into the boat.
Then Jesus says: “You of little faith.”
In Matthew’s context little faith refers to the mixture of courage and fear that characterizes the Christian life. It is not a denigration of Peter’s religious convictions.
Little faith is the acknowledgement that Peter is human. Sinner and Saint at the same time; courageous and fearful; a hero of our faith and a coward in Jesus’ most desperate hour. Peter grows beyond himself as he steps out of the boat in a venture of obedience to follow Jesus.
Rev. Olaf Baumann, sermon, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Port Angeles WA.
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