Jesus Walks on the Sea

Reading: Matthew 14 v 13-36

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 yourselves."

"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!


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