So here I am, preparing for my sermon on Sunday. I’m preaching on Matthew 14:22-33, the story of Jesus walking on the water. What a powerful story demonstrating Jesus’ power as the King of all Creation, His compassion for the disciples who were fighting all night against the sea, and His challenge for His disciples to put their faith in Him. I’m struggling with this text, not with knowing what to say, but with limiting myself to the 20 minutes I’ll have to say it.
Still, I get a little frustrated as I study passages such as these by the writers and “academics” who work very hard to dismiss the miracles of Jesus. I read a couple of options today: 1) That this even actually took place after the resurrection, so this was the resurrected body of Christ that was out on the water, 2) That the disciples were actually closer to the shore than they realized, and that Jesus was actually walking beside the sea and not on the water, and 3) This never actually happened, but was attributed to Christ by his disciples after the fact as another way of justifying their faith in him.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not an anti-intellectual when it comes to my faith. I believe that in Christ, God redeemed the whole person, heart and head. I am called to love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, body, and soul. I know that faith means trusting in the promises of God; but it also means a continual pursuit to know God better.
Still, is it necessary for the “intellectual” to completely dismiss the miraculous? Why must these be regarded as “mythology” rather than faithfully received as another witness to the authority and identity of Jesus as Messiah (John 5:36)? It was the pharisees who witnessed the miracles and wonders of Jesus and were so blinded by their learning that they could never see who He truly was.
Maybe I have been too influenced by Science Fiction/Fantasy; maybe I read too many comics as a kid, but I have no problem balancing an intelligent understanding of the world around me and a wholehearted acceptance of the miracles of God. As I continue to learn and know more about the truth of God, and how He has been revealed in His Son Jesus Christ, I hope I never lose the childlike wonder of His amazing presence.
If we dismiss the miracles of Jesus, then we must dismiss the Christian life altogether. The greatest miracle of this story wasn’t our Savior walking on the water or calming of the storm. The real miracle was Peter’s walk with Christ. And that is a miracle that happens every day. To really walk with Christ in holiness and love is a miracle that happens every day. If we can’t believe in the miracles of the Bible, then it is impossible for us to believe that Jesus could bring peace and life to our dead and broken lives that we may walk with Him.
I believe in miracles, regardless of what the commentaries say. Not because I casually suspend the laws of nature when it comes to my faith, but because by faith I know the One who wrote the laws of nature. I’ll trust in Him, and in His powerful hand to protect and to save me!
Sola Dei Gloria