As Easy as Walking on Water
After Jesus made dinner for 5,000 with just a few fish and loaves, people wanted to make Him King. However, Jesus would have nothing to say about that, so He removed Himself up to the mountain for solitude. Jesus liked people, but He also liked His space. No one was going to usurp His plan, or get in the way of His purpose here.
The telling of this story in John is different from Matthew’s version. In Matthew 14:22-33, Jesus dismissed both the crowds and the disciples. The crowds He sent away, the disciples, He launched in a boat. It was then that He went up the mountain to pray and spend time with the Father.
When He was done, about the fourth watch of the night, the boat was about 3-4 miles out to sea. No problem! Jesus would just take a stroll out to meet them. The only problem was that Jesus’ behavior was supernatural. Not behavior expected by a group of weary sailors who had just rowed 4 miles. Unlike God, people don’t just walk on water, and while they should have expected almost anything from Jesus at this point, they didn’t. They were still wrapped up in their own way of thinking about what God could and couldn’t do; sound familiar? Yes, we do it too.
When Jesus approached the boat, they all thought they were seeing a ghost! You know those amorphous specters of light that are there for no good. Amazingly–without even having the conversation– Jesus immediately perceived what they feared and how to answer that fear! He says to them, “It is I; do not be afraid” which, by the way, is the standard line for most angels when they see people (see Mary’s visit by the angel). Once He said that, they were happy to take Him into the boat.
The next thing that happened is less obvious, but still profound. As soon as they took Him into the boat, the boat was transported, it says, immediately to land. What was that? Lightspeed? How did Jesus pull that off?
There are indications in the gospels that Jesus was no ordinary person; and yet, people took Him that way. I would love to have been a fly on the wall listening to the conversations about how He did the things He did, if in fact those conversations occurred. Do you think they did? Does your church have them?
What people do you know that can make a meal for over 5,000 people with about 3 lbs of food or just casually walk on water? What people do you know that have to tell you who they are because you think you are seeing a ghost? How many people get into your boat 3-4 miles out to see and transport it immediately to land? Pretty amazing stuff!
Have you ever really talked about what it must have been like to know a person like that? What would you think of that person? What would you believe about a person like that? What do you really know about this Jesus person?
See Ya Next Time
1. What are some of the outstanding features of this story?
2. What were some of the abilities that Jesus had that we do not?
3. How did Jesus use His abilities to strengthen our belief in Him?
4. What are some things that surprised Jesus about us?
5. What does ‘believing’ mean when it come to Jesus’ person?
6. What does He want us to believe about Him?
7. Why was it hard for the disciples to accept Jesus’ supernatural ways?
8. In what ways do you reject His supernatural abilities?
9. In what ways do you presume on His abilities?
10. How can you make Jesus more real in your life through this lesson?