Summertime Storytime

Published July 29, 2014 by

Walking on Waterfaith

I will lift up my eyes from the horizon I now see to the horizon which faith has shown me.*pr

We like to think that Jesus had it easy because He was the Son of God.  And even though He always seemed to know what to do and how to do it, Jesus was a human being whose purpose in coming was to teach us to recognize and to live from the presence of God which is within us.  How else to prove that what He did, we too could do if not teaching from His own humanity.  It is accepted that Jesus and John the Baptist were cousins.  John was just a few months older, becoming active in preaching first to prepare the way of the Lord.  There are some scholars who say that Jesus followed John for a brief period before His own Baptism and recognition as God’s beloved son.   The beheading of John the Baptist had to have had an emotional impact on Jesus.  How could it not?

When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself.  But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities.**

Jesus needed to be by Himself for a time, but the multitudes followed wherever He went and He always had compassion on them. We are not told what He taught that day, only that He performed another miracle–Feeding the 5,000.  The story as told in John 6 ends with the following:

when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said,  “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed.

Only in Matthew does the story continue.  Jesus immediately sent the disciples away by boat to meet Him on the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus sent the multitudes away and went up the mountain alone to pray.  Did Jesus pray for John, for Himself, for His disciples or the multitudes?  Did He pray for clarity, for a deeper understanding of His own purpose in being?

The poor, the outcasts and the disenfranchised were ready to make Him king and support His overthrow of the Romans and the ruling elite.  But they were few and powerless against the might of Rome and Jesus was not fool enough to ignore the evidence of John’s end, even if others did.

Had the disciples been caught up in the crowd’s enthusiasm–is that why Jesus immediately sent them away?  They were only men, too easily swayed by the call of the world.  As soon as they were alone upon the sea in the dark of night, did they begin to doubt again, to fear again?  Did their swirling emotions cause them to see the wind and the waves as more powerful, more threatening than they truly were?

In the early hours of the new day, Jesus began to walk across the sea to Capernaum.  When the panicked disciples spotted Him, they cried out in fear, certain that He was a ghost or spirit.  Jesus called out to reassure them and set their minds at ease again.

And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”**

Peter eagerly responded to Jesus’ command Come! by stepping out of the boat and onto the sea, and he walked on the water toward Jesus.  But then Peter turned his attention from Jesus to the waves and became terrified and called out to Jesus to save him.

And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”**

Peter had faith out there in the man Jesus where he could be distracted from his purpose by outer conditions.  He had to learn to invest his faith and attention in his own indwelling Lord, for therein lies true strength.  Otherwise, when the time came for each of the disciples to stand alone and carry the Word to all the world after the Crucifixion, they would falter and fail even as Peter began to sink into the waves.

Rev. Claudia Naylor

Charles Fillmore*

Matthew 14:13;28;31**

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