Gospel Mt 14:22-36
There are a couple things to note in the disciples sailing across this lake, first is that Jesus commanded them to make the crossing. They were not on the voyage for their purpose, rather it was in service to the Lord.They are disciples, students of Jesus their mentor.Even these disciples had to learn,but learn what? In wondering why Jesus would ask them to make this crossing, the biggest hint is their destination of Gennesaret. Gennesaret is the gentile side of the lake where Jesus had previously cured the Demoniac. Could it be that this mission was a sort of training exercise? Was Jesus to train them in healing or exorcism of demons? Might that been the reason for their solo voyage, are we witnessing the students learning from their master? The second point that might need a bit of explanation is the time that these disciples noticed Jesus walking on the water towards them, that is the fourth watch or the darkness just before the dawn. They had been in the boat and at this darkest hour the storm and the sea stirred up mightily; terror because of the darkness, terror of uncertainties of their course, terror of sinking from the wind and the waves; and no way of discerning the dangers because of a blinding darkness.Yet in this darkness they were able to see the Lord(Jesus heals the blind); and Jesus does the impossible, Jesus walks on water. Though they are trembling, and they think they are on the voyage alone, they are not out of Jesus’s sight or reach , He is with them always.God does not abandon his creation.Jesus is with them to the end of time.Does this boat journey not echo the Acts of the Apostles, a post Easter Gospel and a post ascension Gospel? It is fearful for them, as it is for anyone, to venture out into the unknown. Sometimes it is easier to stay with the familiar even though that might be flawed, imperfect, or even wretched; yet Christ does not allow them to do this, he asks that they leave the safety of familiarity behind and asks that they venture into something new , something better.
When they see Christ on the water, and are terrified; they test these new waters and ask Christ “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water. They ask for a sign, they ask if they can do what he does.He said, “Come.” Is that surprising? Isn’t a mentor to teach their students what they themselves do? Peter leaves the boat and begins to walk towards Jesus, but then he becomes frightened and begins to sink.(I bet he wished he never left the safety of that boat!) Frightened and focused on the dangers rather than on Christ.In his fear for a moment he looses sight of Christ and again begins to falter, to sink. Yet he cries out “Lord, save me!”: Peter learns the power of prayer and is saved.(imagine the Joy of walking on water!) When the disciples started this Journey it was Christ who went to the mountaintop to pray: would it be a surprise if Christ prayed for these disciples?He said, “Come.” ( come PRAY)
When they land at Gennesaret the people their bring to Christ all who are sick to be healed? Did Jesus teach the disciples how to heal too? Perhaps, but I think first he needed to heal them a bit.Perhaps they needed a lesson in Faith. He needed to get them to perhaps venture out of their own flawed safety zone, and have faith that God would guide them through their Journey, especially if that journey was to lead themselves and others on a course back to God .Thats what Jesus did on his first voyage to Gennesaret…