Pentecost 11, 2023

Jesus walks on water in this week’s Gospel reading. The phrase has remained in our popular parlance, even when people have no idea of the Gospel referent. Of course, we most often use it to mean that someone doesn’t walk on water or if they imagine that someone walks on water, we assume they have an overblown image of that person. What I am getting at here is that we still the idea of water walking as something which sets people apart. If you can walk on water, you are really special. And that is spot on for what this text is saying to us to day. The point is that the disciples learned something about Jesus today. The disciples apparently figured this out. After Jesus got in the boat they worshiped Him. For an orthodox Jewish crew, this would have been an enormous leap. One only worshiped the God who parted the sea and whose name dwelt in that temple which Solomon built. They had fought wars and an whole crop of Jewish martyrs had paid with their life’s blood to keep that principle. Yet, here they worship Jesus, faces pressed to the bottom of a boat.

The preacher who takes on this text, however, is confronted with a strong other narrative. Peter walking on the water, getting out of the boat in faith, and Jesus calming the storms of life are regularly held up as sermonic material. Let’s face it, we have all preached that sermon. I have preached that sermon. I regret it. I don’t think I spoke any lies or untruths that day, but did I point people to the same Jesus whom the disciples saw and worshiped or did I ask them to look inward at their faith?

Preach Christ today.

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