One of the Gospel stories of Jesus’ early ministry is the account commonly entitled: “Jesus Walks on the Water” (Matt. 14:24-33; Mark 6:47-52; John 6:16-21).
Of the three Gospel accounts, Mark is the only one that adds the statement that “Jesus was about to walk past [the boat].” (Mark 6:48b). The composite stories explain that after Jesus had been teaching on the seashore, he sent His disciples ahead of Him in the boat to the “other side”.
The disciples were struggling against a strong wind and perhaps were not making very good progress. Then Jesus begins to walk on the water toward them. If He were going to walk past them, that would mean Jesus would get to the other side ahead of the disciples.
Why did Mark include this statement, and why did Matthew and John not mention it? Perhaps Mark was emphasizing the fact that Jesus was not afraid of the storm and there was no need for the disciples to be afraid, although the text tells us they were afraid for their lives.
In every account of the event, Jesus climbs into the boat after calming the storm. The main point of this is clearly that Jesus has power over the elements and by His presence we have no need to be afraid.
Back to the idea that Jesus seemed to have been prepared to walk past the boat and arrive ahead of the disciples.
We may hear of people taking Jesus somewhere, but how could we possibly be ahead of Jesus? Isn’t it more likely that Jesus is already there, even in places that Christians may have never been? Isn’t it also likely that everyone within the reach of a Bible, newspaper, radio, television or computer has already heard or seen something about Jesus?
Our mission as the Body of Christ is to reveal the fact that Jesus is already everywhere, but the eyes of many, if not a majority in some places, have been blinded to His presence.
We are not called to take Jesus anywhere, but rather to reveal Jesus to a world that is increasingly blind to Him. How do we do this? By demonstrating what Jesus is. As the revealed Word of God, Jesus is the embodiment of God’s love of all creation, especially humankind.
Anything made in the “image of God” is valued and loved by God. “For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone that believes in Him would never die, but live forever.” (John 3:16).
That kind of love goes everywhere long before we get there. Our call and mission is to live that love in the real world; revealing the power of God’s love in our lives as we share what God has done for us, and is doing for others.
Love sees beyond outward appearances and goes straight to the heart. Love forgives, accepts, supports, encourages, uplifts, and smiles. Smile, Jesus loves you!
Blessings and Peace to you,
Rev. Dr. David Bridges is the pastor at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Grove. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.