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John 6:16-21, Jesus Walks on Water

Monday, February 12

"It Is I; Do Not Be Afraid"

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

A Catholic priest, a Baptist preacher and a rabbi fish in a lake. The preacher has to use the bathroom, so he walks across the water, does his business and walks back. Then the rabbi has to go, so he walks across the water, does his business and walks back.

The Catholic has to go, but when he gets out he falls into the water. He swims back, gets back into the boat, and says, "God, let me walk across the water." He tries again and falls into the water, swims back, tries again and falls again.

The Baptist leans over to the rabbi and asks, "Do you think we should tell him where the stepping stones are?" (Funny Jokes)

Ok, it's an old joke, but a classic. In today's text, Jesus walks on water during a sudden storm. What's interesting about this account compared to the other gospels' accounts is that Jesus didn't still the storm in John's account. Jesus simply said, "It is I; do not be afraid." And the disciples weren't afraid of the storm -- they were afraid of Jesus. Where other gospels tell the story to highlight Jesus' authority over creation itself, John's account seems to tell a different story. These disciples were following a teacher that could defy the natural laws of gravity and physics, and it was terrifying for them. 

Have you ever been close to someone so powerful, their presence was intimidating, or even terrifying? It's not that we think they'll hurt us. It's more like their power and authority are so palpable, we feel small and insignificant in their presence. Imagine how much more terrifying it may have been to walk with Jesus!

But Jesus' words were simple, yet profound. "It is I; do not be afraid." Jesus encourages courage in the face of such terrifying power. Jesus reassures his disciples they are safe (for now) in his presence. Jesus doesn't stop them or interfere with their journey. He simply walks with them, giving his strength to them.

Narrative Lectionary Text: John 6:16-21

When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, got into a boat, and started across the lake to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The lake became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land towards which they were going.

Earlier Event: February 11
John 9:1-41, The Man Born Blind
Later Event: February 13
John 6:22-34, Bread from Heaven