Of all the miracles of Jesus recorded in Scripture, the one that seems most unusual to me is when Jesus walked on water. (See Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-51; John 6:16-21.) All His other miracles have intrinsic value—healing the sick, feeding the multitudes, casting out demons, even turning water into wine at a wedding. Forgive me for saying so but walking on the lake to His disciples almost sounds like—well—showing off! But of course, showing off doesn’t sound like Jesus at all. So, what was going on?
These are some of the questions I sought to answer when I studied this miracle a few years ago. Here’s what I discovered. This event took place early in Jesus’ ministry. He had just taught a great multitude the day before in a remote place. And feeling compassion for them, Jesus had fed this large crowd of five thousand, besides women and children, on five loaves of bread and two small fish. Afterwards, He instructed His disciples to pick up the leftovers and they gathered twelve baskets full, one for each disciple.
But even after witnessing this amazing miracle, Mark’s Gospel tells us, “For they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.” (Mark 6:52) Following the feeding of the five thousand Jesus sent His disciples across the Sea of Galilee in a boat. Then, He went up a mountain to pray. I cannot prove this, but I pondered the question, “What was the Lord praying about?” Based on Mark’s admission of their unbelief and hardheartedness, I believe Jesus was asking the Father what He might do to bring His disciples to faith in Him. I purpose that Jesus received the following answer, “This is a group of common men. Show them something visceral, unbelievable, that only God could do, like walking on water.”
From His perch on the mountain, Jesus could see His disciples in the boat “straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.” (Mark 6:48) So, just before dawn, Jesus walked out on the lake coming toward them. When they first saw Him, they were frightened and supposed Him to be a ghost. But He calmed and assured them that it was He.
But notice this: When Jesus climbed into the boat, “Then those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God.’” (Matthew 14:33) This is the first recorded instance where His disciples acknowledged who He is and worshiped Him! It took this crazy miracle of walking on water to convince these hardened men that Jesus is the Son of God.
How about you? What did it take to convince you that Jesus is the Son of God and to accept His gift of Salvation? Isn’t the Lord wonderful to craft specific events like this to bring people to Himself?
Scripture Reading: Matthew 14:22-33
Personal Application: Thank the Lord for the way He reached out to you and revealed who Jesus is and worship Him.
Jim Grassi, D. Min. and Wendell Morton
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5