Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you waver?”
I know I’ve said it before, but this event is our life. Again, asking ‘what does it mean that we are Christians?’ What is the Spirit telling you here? Just like the bread and wine with the Word, there is so much more here; Christ walking on the water, calming and calling, then rescuing His disciples is so much more than just a miracle. The chaotic sea was death to the ancient Israelites, remember Jonah? Thrown to His death in the chaos of the storm. And the sea is the home of the Leviathan, that serpent of chaos; it’s the origin of the evil beasts Daniel saw (Daniel 7:3), and a beast in God’s Revelation to John (Revelation 13:1). But of course we hear, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and the Spirit of God was over the waters (Genesis 1:2).
This event has been preserved by the same Holy Spirit and His church for you today, that you may be made courageous and be comforted in Christ Jesus. It is not just that He can walk on water, just something that reminds us of our baptism. Jesus Christ is God Almighty (Job 9:8), through Him all things were made (John 1:3), He has authority over all (Matthew 28:18), and He has conquered death (Isaiah 25:8). All those things that torture or torment you, just as the wind and waves tortured the disciples, all these things Jesus has conquered. This virus, government restrictions, tax, temptation, the devil, sickness, separation and death. All the things that cause your fear, that worry you or hurt you, to Him and in Him they are nothing. For nothing in all creation can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39). But still the storm rages, most of the long night had gone before Jesus approached the boat.
Yet, after a time, come He did, He will come, do not fear! Even though you are beaten, bashed, though your conscience convict and you listen to the devil’s condemnation on the wind; Jesus is victorious and with Him the wind cannot harm you. If still now, after hearing Christ’s forgiveness, when in the absolution He said to you, ‘I forgive your sins’, if still now your conscience convicts you after your repentance know that Christ’s Word is more powerful than yours (1 John 3:18-23). With a word He stilled this powerful wind, His Word does what He says. So hear His Word in the storm of your life with Him, be courageous! You have been baptised, you are dead to sin, to those windy temptations of the devil, you have been united with Christ and now live in Him, together with all the saints. Be courageous! As you suffer, call out to Christ for help, for strength, for guidance; just as Peter did. He wanted to be close to Christ, His Lord and ours, He called out in the storm and Christ called him out of the boat upon the water.
Onto the chaos, into death. Now I don’t want you to forget what happened. Peter our forefather in the faith did walk on the water in the middle of a storm on the sea of Galilee. Yet again, the Holy Spirit is showing us that not only with Christ we may do so much more, a vision of our resurrected and glorified bodies (Philippians 3:21), but more so, that by faith in His promise and His command, Law and Gospel, we have His power over death (Hebrews 2:14), of course by the gift of the Holy Spirit; from God not from ourself (Ephesians 2:8-10). But as we are united with Christ, in Christ, by the Holy Spirit’s work in Baptism and our Most Holy Communion, you are more than conquerors over sin, death and the devil (Romans 8:37), over doubt, guilt and worry.
He may not have called you to walk on water, but Christ has called you to live with Him, in love, peace and joy (1 John 4:8, 16; John 20:19; Philippians 4:4). Though you be tortured by the waves, by sickness, calamity, or hurt, and beaten by the wind, call out to Jesus, ‘Lord save me!’ and immediately receive His hand, the grace and mercy He has promised you in your Baptism and with Holy Communion, forgiveness and life.
And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, now and to life everlasting. Amen.
Pastor Joseph Grahame.