Why and How

Do you want to know how Jesus walked on water?  You’ve probably heard people telling jokes about walking on water (I think my wife walked on water once when she saw a snake) but how did Jesus do it?  What Jesus told His disciples gives us a clue.

“When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”” (Matthew 14:26-27)

You may want to review how Jesus set this experience up (See: Jesus Throws a Combination).  Point is, they were really terrified.  When you first experience terror, it’s like suddenly falling.  Most people scream and their arms fly out involuntarily.  Some faint.  Like that time your brother pranked you with a fake spider that dropped on your head?  Like that.  Jesus set that up.  He deliberately terrified them.

And then, He told them three things, important things.  Things He wanted them to really know.  Us too.  Two of those things were commands:

  • Take courage!
  • Don’t be afraid

Essentially, “Stop freaking out and get a grip.  Allow your heart to be filled with understanding and confidence.”  And then, “Don’t become afraid in the future.”

But it’s what Jesus said in between those two commands that is the key to why they make sense.  (It’s also the key to how He walked on water.)  It’s not clear in the English translations, but Jesus pronounced the Holy Name of God, applying it to Himself.  He said, “I Am!”  Which meant, “I am God!”  In our culture, where people use the names for God in a casual and disrespectful way, it’s hard to understand what a big deal this would have been.  But know this: when Jesus said those words in public (John 8:58-59), the people picked up rocks and tried to kill Him.

Jesus could have gone with the disciples in the boat.  But He sent them off by themselves, into a developing storm and came to them, walking on the water.  He intentionally blew their minds, shaking them loose from everything they thought they understood.  Then, with them in that vulnerable condition, He explained, “You can take courage and confidence; you can put away fear.”  Why? “Because I, Jesus, am God. With Me, all things are possible.”  That is why Jesus walked on water, so they would know that in their bones.

So then, how did He walk on water?   Same answer.  He is God; He did it any way He wanted to.  Sorry about that…   But the important thing is to know why He did it, to fully understand it and believe that He is God, take courage and put away all fear.

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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