|The Disciples See Jesus -- H O Tanner|
- Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28 and Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b •
- 1 Kings 19:9-18 and Psalm 85:8-13 •
- Romans 10:5-15 •
- Matthew 14:22-33
Could this be the record of something that actually happened? From one perspective, the simple answer is 'Yes'. The Church teaches that Jesus wasthe true incarnation of the Creator of the cosmos. If so, even the most amazing miracle must lie within his power. At the same time, the Gospels regularly warn against thinking of Jesus as an impressive miracle worker. His miracles, however impressive, are not any sort of conjuring trick. The difference lies in their meaning.
It is a commonplace that sometimes actions speak louder than words. Miracles are not
just amazing actions that we are expected to marvel at; they are also signs from
which there is something important to be learnt. To
grasp the meaning of Jesus’ miracles it is essential to see in them
what devout and faithful Jews witnessing them would have seen – the
they forge between Christ's mission and the one true God revealed in the
Testament. This is the God who ‘trampled the waves of the sea’
9:80), and whose 'path was through great waters, though his footsteps
were unseen’ (Ps 7:19), so it is hardly surprising that Christ's action
causes the disciples to declare ‘Truly you are the son of God’. The connection is unmistakeable.
|Jesus Walks on the Water _ Ivan Alvazovsky|
In the light of this truth, the episode with Peter incorporated within this Gospel passage is especially instructive. Peter believes that his deep devotion to Jesus will carry him across the water. The fact that he starts to sink shows how mistaken it is to make the strength of our own belief the ultimate test of our faith. Our will for good, and for God, may be both resolute and powerful. Yet the deep and uncomfortable truth is that however sincere and committed, we cannot make ourselves the means of our own salvation. Relying on our personal resources, we are likely, when things turn out badly, to sink beneath life’s waves. It is only the presence of Christ within our lives that can save us.