Maybe it is not noticeable but there are people walking on the water in the Gospel (Matthew 14:22-33) this week. People do not walk on water, do they? People can, sail, boat, swim on water. There is kayaking, fishing swimming and treading water but what about walking on water? They can and do when they walk with Jesus. Often things are loss on us when we think about Jesus these days and we think about Peter walking on water, believe that for Jesus, walking on water is a perfectly normal thing to do. it is Peter doing the abnormal thing. Thing is, people don’t walk on water.
Maybe that is why the Twelve though Jesus was a ghost. Ghosts float and they do not have to obey the rules, like gravity. They float and pass through walls. They are other worldly and because of that, they produce fear in people. Jesus left his perch on the hill as he watch the disciple work at making it back to the other side of the Lake. Jesus had sent them away because there was a plan afoot to take him and make him king by force (revolution). Jesus had spent the time in prayer and dealing with his grief in the presence of his Father. He came onto that lake through the wind and the waves renewed, because he spent time with his Father.
Jesus walked out to the boat and to his disciples on the lake. What had Jesus been waiting for? What was Jesus praying for? What was he walking for? The boat was already many stadia away from land – well out into the Sea of Galilee. They were sailing against the wind and the water is rough. The conditions, not unlike the ones we sail in, are hard and dangerous. They are taking a risk in doing what Jesus has asked of them. Nonetheless, they are not alone. Jesus has been watching and praying. Jesus is coming to them through the storm. When the disciples saw him doing this they cried out in fear because they though that they were done for; that death was their fate.
It is interesting that they know it is Jesus as soon as he speaks. And Peter, being Peter wanted to attempt the same: to walk on water. Much can be made of why he wanted to but let’s consider that Jesus called him over the gunnels all the same. Peter did fine walking on the water until he took his eyes off of Jesus and started looking at and considering the storm and the fact that he was out in it. He cried out again for Jesus to save him, just like they did when Jesus was asleep on the pilot’s cushion and they were in a storm. Peter is rebuked for failing to live the faith that he has learned and the trust he had in Jesus at first.
One last thought? When Jesus and Peter came back to the boat, they were walking on the water together. They got into the boat together and together the disciples proclaim Jesus to be the Messiah and worshipped him right there in the boat. They went on to the other side where things continued as they had before. People were being healed. People were losing their demons. People were being made whole. And the power of the Father in Jesus made it so. People were being changed by know the healing and the love of God.
Maybe people need to walk on water.