The story of Jesus walking on the water is similar in many way to the story of his calming the storm. Both stories involve the water and a boat.
The story is an example of faith in action. The disciples, who are out in their boat in the middle of the sea at night, spot Jesus approaching them walking on the water. At first they think it is a ghost, but Jesus reassures them it is he. Peter then calls to Jesus and asks him to prove it is he by enabling him (Peter) to step out of the boat and walk to Jesus on the water. At first Peter is walking on the water too, but when he becomes fearful, he starts to sink. He calls out to Jesus, "Save me!" Jesus holds out his hand and lifts Peter to safety.
The Bible verses tell us that this event occurred during the fourth watch of the night which would have been between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Some people believe that according to ancient religion this was the time that evil spirits which are active during the night were thought to be returning to their dwelling places.
One interpretation is a simple, straight-forward message: trust in Jesus; don't be afraid; he can save us.
Peter's sinking into the water and being saved by Jesus is a representation of anyone of us sinking into sin and having Jesus save us.
Looking at the story in terms of its broader implications, the water also can represent circumstances that figuratively have the potential to drown us. The story assures us that we can rise above these situations and not sink in over our heads. The way to do that is to keep our eyes on the one who is the personification of truth and life.
Regardless of how we interpret the message of the story, one point is clear: faith is not just a mental process; real faith involves action. If we have real faith, we can step forward unafraid and stay above our circumstances.
At the present time we are faced with numerous crises: a pandemic, an over-tasked health care system, a struggling economy and public educational system, and a disfunctional government. Any one of these alone could sink us, but we must face all these crises simultaneously.
Wouldn't you agree that, to keep from sinking, we need to look toward the future with confidence. I believe the application of of this story boils down to putting our trust in God's inspiration and our God-given abilities and creativity to see us through these troubling times.
What about this story is reassuring to you as you deal with crises in your life?
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Copyright, James Bennett 2021