The reaching and catching, preceded the declaration of lack of faith
If had not come first, Peter would have been shamed and sheepishly slinked to the back of the boat (guilt ridden and ashamed)
Instead, Jesus, having revealed, first, His otherness, then His saving intentions - as a loving friend - evoked from the men, the proper response, the response God delights in, not fright and distance, but from near, astonished, humble, heartfelt and spontaneous, worship. As Jesus is BOTH, the divine Other that commands our worship AND the loving Brother and Friend who saves. And this, is His devotion to us.
Because Jesus’ “rebuke”” came second, it was meant to be an honest question meant to console and provoke further understanding - greater faith and trust
In other words, saying this while in Jesus’ grasp shows Peter His care for Him has nothing to do with the size or amount of faith or his position of doubt
Instead, it is an instructive moment of truth of the condition of Peter’s heart and mind in regard to truly knowing (Jesus) and trusting that knowing
Remembering contextually, that the Jews always looked for a demonstration of power for proof of God and proof of God’s favor, or something or someone being of or from God
Jesus means to dispel the notion of what is proof of God’s favor, concern, or working - that it is not that “I (AM)” would do something for you, but that “I AM, ‘Abba’” would be here with you”
Fear, prove it - power/otherness - God -
“It is not good for man to be alone “(Gen 2:18), not because man/Adam was alone, as Adam was not alone in the truest, or most basic, sense of the word, but because man could not truly and fully relate to the otherness of God.
God‘s power is a demonstration of His otherness, His being other than, greater than, His being incomprehensible and unrelatable, as in, God is outside of the realm of relating or what is most necessary in relationship, as He is One who cannot be related to in the human/divine sense.
This is (also) why Jesus had to join us in our flesh, as He had “...a body prepared…” for him (Heb 10:5-10), to come and do life with us, as one of us. So that we could have a relationship, that we could relate to God, because He has made Himself relatable and came to relate. Knowing this, Jesus in essence, laid down his otherness, to come to be part of mankind, to be with mankind, (with) one another, as another. (Phil 2:5-8)
So, although according to Col 1:15-23; Heb 1:1-4; 2:14-18, Jesus was “the radiance of God and the perfect representation of God here on earth”, Jesus did this by taking the “form of a man” and became a man, because, the otherness of God, His divine Self, was so unrelatable.
Jesus proving himself to Peter by power, would certainly reveal his otherness. But, it was Jesus’ overlooking Peter’s lack of faith, His reaching out to catch and save anyway, and then, His climbing into the boat with Peter, that made Jesus’ God-nature safe and brought the divine otherness into relationship – His otherness, came into one-another, with the others.
You see, here’s the deal…
The purpose at the heart of Jesus’ mission, was to bridge the gap between man and the divine Otherness. And a mere demonstration of His divine power to Peter, would have only reinforced the separation between God and man.
It is in Jesus’ loving wisdom to just merely flit away the veil of flesh momentarily, giving just a wink of His divine power, to Peter, that assured Peter (of who He was), by revealing and proving to Peter His divinity and with it His divine otherness, but (wisely), putting it quickly away, Jesus (humbly) allowed Peter to be distracted from that revealed glory, by the chaos around him, which allowed Jesus to establish and reinforce the true reason for His being here, revealing the true nature of God's heart toward man: that it is God the Father‘s desire to bless His children with the enjoyment of knowing who He is, knowing Him! That we can know Him, whose we are and who we are, and that God, the divine Otherness, would not merely visit man, but truly become a man, by taking on our flesh, and make His dwelling among us, not just walking on the water, but getting in the water. Climbing together. As friends.
So Jesus progression from the phantom ghost that terrified, to the climbing friend who saves and stays, is a microcosm of God’s loving and faithful intentions for us and His work in us. From a distant God who is other and scary and incomprehensible, right through to the friend who climbs in and embraces each man.
Manifest wisdom and his progressive revelation to mankind over time and to men themselves.
● God who is scary
● God who is drawing near in an attempt to allay fears
● God who is powerful and other - from whom I maintain a respectful distance
● God who is near and reaches out, catches, forgives, and saves - Who penetrates my distance
● God who remains and is a brother - Who reveals to me, not only His divine otherness, but His gracious likeness
● God of love, a friend, who sticks closer than a brother - Who ignores my occasional desire for distance and remains and fights through my feelings and failings
● God of grace, faithfulness, of majestic glory, and yet, beckons, come - Who is worthy of worship, adoration, praise and thanks. Who is glorious and powerful and wonderful and kind…
● The God of wisdom and love - Who knows that the best way to be in relationship is not to just wield His power and do everything for us, but to join us in the water and do everything with us.
That is the kingdom of our Glorious God and our loving and faithful Father - the divine other, brother and friend - teaching us how to be like Him, that is, to love like Him - with one another, devoted
For further study: Moses went through the same basic process - Exodus 3
● Moses mysteriously chosen and living hostage in a hostile world, trained in all things world (Ex 2:2; Acts 7:20; Heb 11:23)
● Moses senses something about “his people” needing a savior and miss interprets who the savior is to be (not him, but God, using Him) (Ex 2:12; 3:7-10)... life, as it were, moves on. Later… (Ex 2:13-25; 3:1)
● Moses’s eyes are drawn… sees something strange - almost ghostly (Ex 3:2-3)
● God speaks to Moses (Ex 3:4-5)
● Moses is afraid to look, shrinks back out of fear (Ex 3:6)
● Moses doubts (Ex 3:11; 4:1, 10, 13)
● God assures and reassures (Ex 3:12-22; 4) and demonstrates His divine otherness so prove to Moses who He is, “I AM”
● Moses finally agrees (Ex 4:18)
● Moses does what God says, but doubts and fails it is forgiven; God reaches and rescues, assures and reassures (Exodus, the rest of the story, as God demonstrates power, yet, but more profoundly walks WITH Moses, as a friend)
● God speaks to Moses as a Friend (Ex 33:11; Num 12:8; Deut 34:10)
● Emboldened by God’s declaration, Moses desires to see and be closer; God acquiesces to Moses’ request and let’s Him see - a glimpse, a peek, a promise for more (Ex 33:12-23)
● Jesus, comes now, and instead of putting His hand between us and His glory, instead of speaking to us as a “man speaks to a friend”, actually comes and puts His glory down, clothes Himself with our flesh, and declares that we are His friends, and speaks to us that way.
● Not just His presence being with us (Ex 33:14), but Him, being present with us. (Isa 7:14; Psa 2:7; 85:9; John 1:14; 1John 1:1; 4:2; 2John 1:7; Col 1:15-23; Heb 1:1-4; 2:14-18; 10:5-10; Spirit in us: John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26; 16:7; Acts 1:4; 2:3-4; 1John 5:6; Rom 5:15; Gal 4:6; Eph 1:13-14)