Hi, I'm Tim Coombs, co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church of Scotia, New York and a member of The Network of Biblical Storytellers. To learn more about its mission, go to nbsint.org.
The story of Jesus walking on the water is a most intriguing story! In Mark's gospel, Jesus has just fed the 5000 after the disciples have come back from their own tour, their own ministry tour. And you get the sense that Jesus is just a little frustrated and so, at the end, He tells His disciples to get in the boat at the Sea of Galilee and go across to Bethsaida while He's going to stay behind and dismiss the crowds. And when he does, He goes up on the mountain to pray. When evening comes, the disciples are still out in the boat and Jesus is still praying up on the hill and he can see they're still out in the middle, they have a headwind against them and they're not making much progress. In the early morning, they're still out their fighting against the wind and the story says Jesus comes to them walking on the water. In fact, it says, He intended to pass them by, walk to the other side himself. They see Him and perhaps it's still dark. They're terrified and they think it's a ghost and they all saw him! The story goes, Jesus said, "Don't fear. It's just me." And he gets in the boat and the wind stops and they are just astounded by this. In Matthew's gospel, there's an additional part of the story in which Jesus walks to boat and they're terrified and then he reassures the disciples. Peter says, "Lord, if it's you, command me to come," to walk on the water too. And Jesus says, "Well, come on." Peter gets out of the boat and steps and steps and he's walking on water too! But all of a sudden he sees the wind, feels it, and he gets scared and he begins to sink and Jesus reaches, helps him up, and they both get in the boat. Jesus says to Peter, "You don't have enough faith, not even yet." It's a fun story, a mysterious story, and it's one that is meant to show Jesus' unique power in this world.