John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

How to Walk on Water

Jesus didn't feed the 5,000 people because he'd run out of miracles to do. "Let's see...I've healed people and made blind people see. What else can I do? I know! I'll feed a bunch of people. That'll be a neat trick!" Nope. Jesus had a plan -- a very specific agenda. The death of his cousin John must have brought to mind the inevitability of his own death. He knew the time was rapidly approaching when he'd have to hand this entire enterprise over to the disciples, and he knew they weren't ready. So, he becomes very intentional about preparing them -- specifically by growing their faith/trust/confidence in his ability to do what he's promised.

As soon as the leftovers are picked up, Jesus sends the disciples away in a boat and goes by himself to find a place for that solitude he was looking for. The disciples row, row, row their boat...against the wind...all night long. Then, what to their wondering eyes should appear? Jesus walking across the water.

Of course they're terrified at the sight, and initially believe Jesus is a ghost. Terror I can understand. Making the leap to calling out, "It's a ghost!" seems a bit extreme to me. But I wasn't there.

Jesus tells them not to be afraid, and Peter's wheels begin turning. Jesus had asked Peter to do something he could not do (feed the multitude). Peter had done only what he could do (give what was in his hand to someone else), and God had shown up and done what only he could have done. Now Jesus has asked Peter to do another thing he could not do (row the boat across the lake in a storm). Peter remembers a time when Jesus had said that if you believe in him nothing would be impossible.

I can almost see him doing the math in his head.

Peter shouts, "Jesus, if that's really you, invite me out there with you."

Jesus says, "Well, come on, then!"

Peter does not know how to walk on water any more than you do. But Peter does know how to get out of a boat -- he's been doing that all his life. And he does know how to put one foot in front of the other. And he can keep his eyes fixed on Jesus.

Peter did what he knew how to do and trusted Jesus to do what only he could do.

That's faith. Faith isn't manufacturing false-courage. Faith isn't knowing everything or how everything works. Faith is simply getting out of the boat (what is your boat, by the way?), putting one foot in front of the other and keeping your eyes focused on the One for whom nothing is impossible.

Faith is simply doing what you know you can do and trusting God to do what only he can do.

And that's how you walk on water.