In this selection of the Gospel we hear the story of how Jesus goes on to pray alone while his disciples wait in a boat. When Jesus reappears, the disciples at first believe he is a ghost. Jesus calms them by telling them not to be afraid saying “take heart, don’t be afraid, it is I”.
Peter shows his trust in Jesus’ power and said if Jesus commanded it, he would join him on the water. When Jesus called, he went out on the water. The minute Peter saw it was windy he became afraid and began to sink. He cried out “ Lord save me!”. Jesus reached out his hand and took hold of Peter saying “oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Reading this passage I am struck that the disciples are not a more courageous lot. Afraid of Ghosts while waiting for Jesus to finish praying? I would like to think that I would not have reacted that way because I do not believe In ghosts, but I do believe in Jesus! My faith has grown like the mustard seed from infancy it was nurtured by my family and I continue to practice my faith as an adult. I don’t know, but if these men abandoned their former lives to follow Him I wonder why they were of so little courage? Afraid of ghosts and a little wind? I know fear is learned. A small child has no fear of heights, water, electric currents and adults quickly instill that fear in them to keep them safe. But these disciples have been saved as adults and chosen to follow Jesus and made a choice to be courageous in their faith.
If I were Jesus I would be offended that I had to prove over and over that I was the son of God. I would tire of proving I was trustworthy. Jesus was a patient teacher
When I tell this Bible Story in children’s chapel at ACGS I can see that these children believe. They do not dispute what they are told. The never doubt that Jesus walks on water. A trusted adult is telling them this and they trust it to be true. On occasion , I encounter the child of an atheist who tells me that their parents do not believe this is real but that it is make believe. While not discounting their parent’s right to their values I quietly tell them that I believe. That gives the child something to think about, there is a hope that this can really be true.
As the audience gets older there is more difficulty taking this in. It is physically impossible to walk on water they argue. It’s a trick. And that Is where the word faith comes in. We are believing something that is inexplicable and we are asked to put logic aside, defy convention and believe! As I said , young children do it easily but as adults we have to keep practicing our faith to insure that we remain steadfast.
In my personal life I have faced and continue to be challenged by situations that cannot be handled alone. I am not courageous on my own but I have my faith in Jesus . I do not doubt he is with me in adversity as well as good times. I have persisted in my childlike faith and I am thankful for it. Once I turn to Him in prayer my burden is lifted and I trust He will see me through. My dear fellow parishioners Don’t be afraid, heIS the son of God.