When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”
Jesus had just fed the five thousand when the disciples were rowing across… three or four miles so they had been rowing a while.
I smile when I think of the disciples squinting to see what was on the water.
I’m joyfully reminded of a time when my friend and I were driving with my parents and off in the distance was something walking in the road. My mom said to my dad, “Louie, slow down there is a horse in the road.” My dad eventually slowed down to nearly a crawl when we rolled up to that “horse” … which turned out to be a small dog. I remember my friend and I were laughing so hard because we knew it wasn’t a horse but honestly, we couldn’t quite make it out.
Our family quote after that anytime we couldn’t quite make out what something was “Louie, there’s a horse in the road…”
I imagine the disciples guessing what it was approaching them also because no one would have just assumed it would be their teacher walking on the water towards them. If they had, it wouldn’t have scared them.
Jesus is both divine and human and so often the two lines are blurred - lines where the natural world and what Jesus is capable becomes enmeshed.
Jesus walking on the water up to the boat was a very Jesus thing to do.
Creepy and unsettling for the disciples for sure, but was absolutely possible for Jesus.
The scripture tells us that Jesus frightened them but he said to them, “it is I, don’t be afraid.”
Jesus was doing that so often and even did that after his resurrection like popping up in the Upper Room without using the door. That’s unsettling to anyone when someone isn’t there and suddenly is there.
The disciples, even though they were around the supernatural, still couldn’t quite get their bearings.
They constantly found themselves being jarred, frightened, and pushed into liminal space by the supernatural abilities of Jesus.
The holy spirit does that to us still today. We think we have it all figured out and suddenly we encounter new experiences, new feelings and emotions, and new ways that God is working in our lives. We are being transformed and transformation is really just a fancy way of being changed.
Often the scariest places God leads us, is through change.
It can be scary to change but that change is what leads us to growth. Out of the old we can become something new. It’s the very basics of our being transformed through Jesus Christ!
I pray you feel God nudging you, showing up in unexpected places in your life to challenge you, and pushing you to new areas of growth. While our situations may sometimes be scary and the unknown can be frightening, Jesus is right there to remind us, “It is I, don’t be afraid.”
May it be so,
Rev. Lou Ward
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