Episode #47 - "Why Do We Doubt?”
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” 34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.
Three points of discussion
The Mountain - Just like last week, the author of the Gospel of Matthew emphasized Jesus walking up a mountain in order to gain peace and clarity.
That means back to back stories, the disciples wondered if Jesus was present and if he was primarily concerned for their safety and provision. What if safety or health was not his number one goal with the disciples, and what if it’s not today either? What if we are built for stressful situations in which we don’t understand the entire story? What if we limited the times we cried out to Jesus in anger due to our anger and confusion over our needs not being met? How can you create space for clarity and peace prior to, in the midst of, and following horrifically stressful situations?
To be clear, many stories describe the constant preparation God undertakes and the unbelievable abundance God bestows. However, we are called to take steps beyond our comfort and neither God nor Jesus appreciated or rewarded humans saying something like, “prove it to me before I show my faith.” How did water challenge these people, and how did it present an opportunity in their life? What can we learn from Peter’s example of stepping out and the example of the other eleven not trying?
This Sunday, we will celebrate Jesus showing an example for prayer and reflection and giving the disciples an opportunity to truly learn about him and their entire group.
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