The problem with the miraculous is people will only accept/believe for what their minds can grasp. R. W. Schambach told a story of a man who gave the money he was saving for a new truck in a meeting one night. Later that week he came back with a testimony of how he was working on his old truck when he noticed something he had missed for years. It was a can that was stuck to the side of the engine and when he opened it there was a wad of 100 dollars bills in the can, more than enough to buy the truck he had been saving for. On hearing this several people got up an ran out to check their cars. They were sure that God would bless them in the exact same way. They could only conceive a miracle for them because it had already happened to someone else that way. Now testimonies are to build up your faith and your belief that God can and will do miraculous things but we get stuck on how God will do these things. How many people are always willing to give God instructions on how their miracle is supposed to look and happen? You wonder how many miracles have been missed because the person could not perceive that it could possibly happen that way.
While studying Jesus walking on the water the side story of Peter getting out of the boat is added in Matthew’s telling of the story. I have heard many sermons on this over the years and most of the teachers have no problem with the fact that Jesus was actually walking on water. But when it comes to Peter “seeing the wind” they will dismiss this as a natural occurrence of water blowing off the waves, etc. (NOTE to READER: This is a strange idea and I would not make it a doctrine but I will present this in the context of how far are you willing to believe God can do anything!)
The reason this idea hit me was a preacher did just that the last time I heard a message on this topic. He was building the faith of the people to be willing to see Jesus differently in our times of need. But when it came to the wind that was impossible for Peter to have actually seen. Duh! It is impossible to walk on liquid water but Jesus was doing that. (People walk on water all the time and even drive trucks on it, it just happens to be frozen.) Ok, since I am being weird let me throw out some other strange ideas: 1. Was Jesus wet from walking on the water? 2. Did He walk up and down the waves or did they divide in front of Him? Please do add these to “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin.”
To say that something different was happening is an understatement. The disciples saw Jesus as a “ghost”, Peter actually walked on water, Peter saw wind, and the boat was transported to shore “immediately” (John 6:21). If you were looking for a physical reason for Jesus to walk on water the only logical one would be He changed how the molecules were acting toward each other. So why could that have not extended to what was making the waves. Maybe Peter had a good reason for sinking, he truly saw something he never expected, air molecules whirling around him. I will still agree he should have kept his eyes on Jesus but was he distracted by the miraculous. To add to this strange possibility, why did they use the term “ghost?” That word phantasma (Strong’s 5326) is only used twice in the Bible and that is in connection with this story. Jesus may have actually looked different because once again had He done something beyond what our minds can grasp!
Taking this back to Jesus and the whole story of feeding 5000 men and walking on the water. The people in Gennesaret (where they landed) knew if they just touched His garment they could be healed (it had been done before) and the crowd from the miraculous feeding that finally found Him teaching in Capernaum just wanted a free meal ticket. The crowd even though they had seen 5000 people fed needed more proof that He was the Messiah because in their mind Moses had done the same miracle before (Jesus tried to correct their thinking in John). Many people will not believe in Christianity because of the miraculous things that are done by God in the Bible. Painfully some Christians can only believe that God did those things in the Bible and not in modern times and so they must condemn the “crazies” that hold to the fact that God does not change. “After all science knows more now than they did back then.” As Christians I believe we need to understand that our faith demands a belief in miracles – past, present, and future.
How about you, how far will you let God be God. Who knows maybe you will see wind and still keep walking on water?
Both “Feeding the 5000” and “Walking on Water” are part of the Seven Miracles of Jesus in the Book of John.