It had been a busy day for Jesus and his
disciples. Many people had flocked to hear him preach
and to see him perform wonderful miracles. When evening
came his disciples asked Jesus to send the crowd away
to find food, but Jesus replied, "Give them food
"We only have five loaves and two fishes,"
Andrew answered. "What is that among so many?"
Jesus, however, did not answer Andrew's
question but, instead, told his disciples to organise
the people into groups and to make them sit down on the
grass. When everyone was ready and waiting, Jesus gave
thanks for the food and then gave it to the disciples
to distribute among the people. There was more than enough
for everyone and there were more than 5000 people there!
After it was all over, Jesus told his disciples
to get into a boat and go on before him to the other side
of the Sea of Galilee while he sent the great crowd of
people away to their homes. By the time this was done,
it had become dark but Jesus did not go to sleep or make
plans to join up with his disciples. Instead he went up
on the hillside to pray, to speak with his heavenly Father.
Jesus often prayed to God. Prayer was very
important to him and he gained a great deal of strength
from communication with his Father. He prayed a long time
that night, alone on the mountain, but he nonetheless
did not forget his disciples. Since sending them away
earlier, a wind had blown up and the little boat was being
tossed around on the waves.
The disciples struggled against the strong
wind but, no matter how hard they rowed, they could make
no progress. Suddenly, amidst the waves, the wind and
the half-light of morning, they saw someone coming towards
them, walking on the water! They were terrified, but Jesus
(for that is who it was) called out to them, "It
is I, be not afraid."
Having seen from a distance how difficult
things were for them, he had come to help.
Peter, one of the disciples on the boat,
immediately felt a lot better. Nothing could go wrong
now if Jesus was with them! Jesus would calm the wind
and the waves as he had done once before. "Lord,"
Peter called out, "if it is really you, bid me to
come to you on the water."
"Come," said Jesus.
At once Peter climbed over the side of the
boat and began to walk towards Jesus on top of the water.
He got so far, but then let his eyes wander away from
Jesus and looked instead at the billowing waves. His courage
left him; his faith failed and he began to sink.
"Lord, save me!" he cried.
Jesus stretched out his hand and grasped
hold of Peter. "O you of little faith," he said
tenderly. "Why did you doubt?"
Together Jesus and Peter reached the little
boat and climbed aboard. At once, the wind died down,
the waves calmed and the disciples gazed with wonder upon
Jesus. Truly he was the Son of God!