Nick Whittome

Taking one small step for Jesus

Is it your time to ‘have a go’, writes Nick Whittome.

Over sixty years ago, in October 1957, the Soviet Union successfully launched the world’s first satellite ‘Sputnik 1’ into orbit. They followed this remarkable achievement with an even more spectacular feat in April 1961, when Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin completed the world’s first successful manned space flight.

The director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre in America, Wernher von Braun, wrote to President John F Kennedy that same month stating that he thought the Americans had an excellent chance of beating the Soviets to the moon. The space race was well and truly underway.

Despite his optimism, however, von Braun made it very clear in his letter to Kennedy that there was no rocket capable of taking people to the moon at that time. Nevertheless, only a month later President Kennedy announced a very dramatic and ambitious goal to a special session of Congress: that America would put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. What is so remarkable is that Kennedy made the commitment before any means to achieve the task had been invented.

Rewind 2,000 years before to the middle of a deep lake 13 miles long and eight miles wide in the darkest part of a stormy night, and something else ‘impossible’ seems to be unfolding.

An interchange is taking place between a ghost-like figure who seems to be defying all the rules of physics out on the lake, and a group of terrified young men being tossed around in a boat by the very real physics of strong winds and powerful waves. One of the men calls out from the boat into the darkness towards the figure: “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”

The young man asking for this assurance is Peter and he too has a deeply likeable reflex instinct to ‘have a go’ despite impossible odds even though it often seems to land him in trouble. The figure on the water is, of course, Jesus and “Come!” is his reply.

Through his single simple word to the one, Jesus also extends an invitation laden with breath-taking permission to everyone on planet earth willing to participate in the divine nature.

As we know from our Bibles the ‘have a go’ attitude in Peter suddenly connects with this incredible opportunity like steel jumping towards a powerful magnet, and for a moment Peter joins Jesus in a supernatural place beyond the rule of physics.

The irresistible appeal of what happened that night works on three levels:

  • Let’s keep on being willing as men to do things we ourselves have never done before.
  • Once in a while that might mean we achieve something no one has ever done before, like walking on the moon.
  • We might even reach the dizzying heights of doing something that simply can’t be done, like walking on water.

Our one small ‘have a go’ step towards Jesus might just be one giant leap into our supernatural destiny this year!

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