Walking on the sea is a mighty deed of Jesus recorded in both the Synoptic Gospels and “John.”
In recent posts, we have been exploring how God has “hardwired” us humans for experiencing God through over thirty-five alternate states of consciousness. In light of this, consider the story of Jesus walking on the sea and the experience of his disciples. A version of this story found in all the Gospels but “Luke,” who includes a similar account of Jesus calming a storm at sea (Luke 8:22-25).
Did he really do walk on the sea, historically? Was he actually walking on water? Did he violate the physical laws governing the universe? Was Jesus overriding the laws of buoyancy? Ultimately, is the point of this story that Jesus is so powerful that he can do anything he wants, even the impossible, with ease?
Watch the video below…
Walking Through the Gospels
This is the beginning of a four-part series looking at the miraculous in Scripture, particularly the Gospels. What are miracles, exactly? Did Jesus really perform miracles? Was his walking on the sea such a miracle? Over this week we will be exploring in depth what the stories of Jesus walking on the sea mean and what they are trying to communicate.
For today, let’s take a careful look at the various Gospel versions of Jesus walking on the sea. Read them over, and maybe keep a notepad handy, with a pen. Jot down exactly where in each Gospel the story takes place (look at what’s going on in the narrative of each Gospel surrounding this story). Toward the beginning of the story? Or end? Note that each author drops the story into different places in the narrative. Compare and contrast. Take notes of all variations.
Then he made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray.
When it was evening, the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore. Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them.
About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out. They had all seen him and were terrified.
But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”
He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were [completely] astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.
Then he made the disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once [Jesus] spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how [strong] the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”
When it was evening, his disciples went down to the sea, embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum. It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid. But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”
They wanted to take him into the boat, but the boat immediately arrived at the shore to which they were heading.