Saturday, 12 August 2017

Mathew 14v22-33, Jesus Walking on Water



The story of Jesus walking on water was given a significant place in the oral 
tradition of the early church. It was integrally linked to the feeding of the 5,000, 
and when finally the oral tradition was documented, all four gospels 
interestingly recorded the two stories together. 
Jesus is still trying to find some peace and stillness after the beheading of 
John the Baptist his cousin. Life as today was full of business and a lack of 
peace and stillness. 
Literary evidence exists showing that in first century middle eastern world 
people were quite interested in the ability of the gods/God to exercise control 
over nature and its elements. The miracle, at this level, gives divine 
authentication . The account also reveals Christ's mastery over the sea, not 
just water, but the sea seen as chaos. For the Jews the sea was a dark and 
forboding place, not just because of its many dangers, but because it was the 
dwelling place of dark powers, of Leviathan. The stilling of the sea is therefore 
not only Christological about the Christ in orientation, but also eschatological, 
about the endtimes; Jesus is even now stilling the deep. Matthew's addition of 
the Peter incident focuses attention on Jesus' saving power. 
The gospel tradition was shaped by oral transmission such that the stories 
developed their own particular shape in different geographical regions and 
churches. When it came time to write these stores down (prompted by the 
increasing age and death of the apostles) the gospel writers selected, shaped 
and edited the stories and gave them their own characteristics. 
Although there are differences between Matthew and Mark's accounts of 
Jesus' walking on water, the theological perspective is much the same. Both 
reveal divine authentication, Gods work, both image Jesus' struggle and 
victory over the powers of darkness, and both reveal the fulfilment of Israel's 
messianic hope in Jesus the prophet like Moses - when even the wind and the 
waves obey him. 
Ultimately the story is about having faith when the going gets tough. Fix on 
something beyond the immediate and you will ride the storm and be at peace. 
Wise words for today when we have to walk on choppy seas and we get 
frightened and start sinking! 
Do you know what its like to be lifted up when the waters of life threaten to 
overwhelm you. Do you know grace of hands that reach out to carry and 
console and give courage when you are sinking. This is some of what we 
know about faith: 
Faith is not something we can conjure up by sheer will force. 
It lives and breathes in our Christian community that surrounds us. 
We cannot force faith but can ask for it, can pray that it will make its way to us.
and helps us up over the next wave. 
That it comes. 
That we can lean into it. 
That it will propel us not only toward the Christ who calls me, but also back 
toward the boat that holds our life, with its pain and its gifts of love.
What is your experience of faith right now? How is it carrying you? 
Faith is not inherent in us but something that happens, like wind to a sail. 
It comes as we open ourselves to it, unfurling ourselves to be moved by it, to 
be propelled, to leave the familiar places we have known and to let go of our 
accustomed ways of moving through the world. 
Peter comes inviting us to wonder if there’s a leap—even a little one—that 
Christ might be calling us to make. He reminds us that faith isn’t something 
that we have to find on our own; but Christ activates it in us as we open 
ourselves to the voice that calls to us across the waves, and step out toward 
it. 
How about you? Amid all that tugs at you or tosses you about, is there a 
deeper invitation, a more compelling call, a leap that would draw you closer to 
the Christ who is making his way toward you? 
We cannot promise that we will be kept afloat as if by lashing these words
to our arms, our ankles, we could stop yourself from going under. 
But God will stand beside us in the boat. 
And if we find ourself flailing, God will breathe into us , until we are held by 
the hands that reach towards us, the voice that calls our name. 

Lent

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