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Surprise on the Water

Are you facing something that seems impossible? Maybe you are up against a physical, financial, or mental challenge. We all experience obstacles. We may not always demand a miracle, as in the case of the feeding of the multitude, but we do often ask God to supply the grace to do what we must. At other times, we turn to God to do the impossible for us.

After Jesus fed the multitude with five loaves and two fish, He made the disciples get into a boat and return to the other side while He went off by Himself. Jesus went up a mountain to pray. It seems likely that this was in preparation for the next stage in His ministry which culminated in the suffering of the cross.

After the disciples had gone several miles, a storm started. The harried disciples were still battling the storm when Jesus came to them walking on water. His appearance was completely unexpected. The fact that they could see Him suggests that this must have taken place near dawn. The terrified disciples concluded they were seeing a ghost or an evil spirit. In response, Jesus offered reassurance: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (v. 27). In the Greek text the phrase “It is I” is literally “I am” a possible allusion to the name of God in the Old Testament.

What happened next may be more surprising. “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water” (v. 28). His words sound like a test. What if it wasn’t Jesus? Peter’s statement was really a confession of faith: “Lord, since it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Peter’s bold faith was short-lived. Jesus’ power was not.

>> Let’s revisit the opening question: What are you facing today that seems impossible? While we may sometimes falter, God will never fail us. Take reassurance from today’s story that God can both provide for you and enable you. Follow Him in faith!

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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