45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.
Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
53 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.
Ghost On the Water
The disciples head out for Bethsaida and end up in Gennesaret. They are rerouted by a storm and their encounter with Jesus. They struggle with the winds and the waves. The struggle here would be symbolic of chaotic forces that work against the shalom of Creation. The shalom of Creation is the blueprint of peace and harmony that God brings by his presence. Jesus’ walking on the water is not a cool trick for someone who forgets his surfboard, it is a revelation to the disciples of the glory of God. Whilst in the storm, not in peril but in struggle, God is with them in the person of Jesus Christ.
Going through school, working a job, raising a family may all feel at times like rowing into a head wind. However, who comes with us into the storm? Who walks through the buffeting waves unphased? Jesus very presence soothes the breakers, but does it calm our fears? The disciples were afraid because they couldn’t comprehend the transcendent nature of the one who walked with them. They didn’t understand that the God who provides was walking with them. Sometimes, when God opens us up to the fact that we still wrestle with a chaotic core of sin and that he is holy and completely without flaw or error, we are left on our faces wondering how we are allowed to speak to God or take our next breath.
If we are walking in the Spirit, with Jesus, we will be transformed.
Jesus, walk with me. Walk with me and change me in ways that I need to be changed. Let me not forget about the loaves, the storms, the crucifixion. Help me not to be brought up short those times when your hand is obvious. Let me know more fully that in all life’s storms you are walking beside me and loving me. Help me to receive that love and to be transformed by your presence.
- Why did Jesus embrace solitude?
- What miracles does Jesus perform?
- How do these miracles reveal Jesus’ identity?
- How will you embrace solitude in the next few months?
- How is Jesus revealing he is God in your storms?
I want my solitude to be a time of reflection, without chaos. A time that allows my heart and mind to focus on the Truth.
The storms of parenthood because of a great book and other moms. Finances and marriage feel like storms that I need to see Him walking with me/us but I seem to be missing those moments. Lord give me eyes to see You during these strugglings seasons of life.
Peter, what were you reading to me recently that stated that the command uttered most frequently in the Bible is “Do not be afraid”? That command is what strikes me most in this passage today. “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” It’s a compassionate instruction. And the only evidence he offers to support his command is his presence. “It is I.” Subtext: I am enough. All you need is me and I am here. And he says this while the storm is still raging.
I pray that I would experience his presence in such a way that it gives me courage and calms my fears.
I believe that it was Jim Wilhoit’s book: Spiritual Formation As If The Church Mattered.