Sermons

Summary: Stepping out

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Aboard - A piece of lumber that may be used to repair your boat.

Adrift - A method of moving across the water when nothing on your boat works.

Astern - A type of look. Your spouse gives you astern look when you attempt to buy things for your new boat.

Bow - This is what you do in front of your banker when you are asking for more money to spend on your boat.

Bridge - Something you cross to get to the other side of a body of water when you do not have a boat available. Can also be used for removing masts of sailing vessels.

Compass – A navigational aid that accurately points to the largest metal object on your boat.

Crew - This term refers to the people working on your boat. They are usually friends or acquaintances that do not find out about the "work" part of the ride until you are away from the dock.

Deck - This is what your spouse will do to you after discovering how much money you have spent on the boat without first obtaining permission.

Hatch - A device similar in nature to a mousetrap, in that it will drop down on your head or hand without warning. Also an opening for admitting water into the boat.

Keel - A stopping device for your boat. It works by contacting the bottom of the water body you are in, thus inhibiting forward motion.

Line – What you feed your spouse in order to obtain funding for additional boat-related purchases.

Mess – A term indicative of food, more indicative of the way shipboard galleys usually look.

Overboard - The final resting-place for anything expensive dropped while on board a boat.

Wave – A unique feature of water that enables it to gain entry into your boat.

Yacht – When discussing boats, if the other is determined to be smaller than yours, it is then customary to refer to yours as a yacht.

Ministers, who have often spent a lot of time and money going to seminary, often feel a need to prove that they got something from that whole experience. This is one of those times for me. I wrote a paper on this passage in one of my classes so now every time I read it I think about that paper. Please indulge me for a moment while get that out of my system, and then I promise that I’ll get around to preaching a sermon.

The question that my paper addressed was, “Is the Narrative of Jesus Walking on the Water a Displaced Resurrection Narrative?” So what is a “displaced resurrection narrative” anyway? The notion is that the accounts of some resurrection appearances were placed by the writers of the Gospels, or by later editors, back into the life of Jesus where we read them out of place and time. This claim is often heard concerning the transfiguration, sometimes the feeding of the five thousand, and often related to this passage.

I can imagine a narrative being placed, on purpose or by accident, somewhat out of order. Maybe two events that illustrate a similar point or occurred in the same location might be presented next to each other instead of in strict chronological order. Still, it hardly seems reasonable that an event that occurred after the resurrection would ever be placed earlier. While I don’t think that there really are any displaced resurrection narratives, I can see why some would reach that conclusion about this passage. Imagine reading this passage totally disconnected from any context. Where would you put it?

First, there is a certain superficial similarity to that odd resurrection appearance in John 21. We read it earlier today. Sometime after Jesus death, the disciples are in Galilee. Peter decides that he wants to go fishing so he and the others spend all night on the lake and catch nothing. The next morning, when they are ready to quit, a stranger tells them to lower their nets one more time. They net a huge catch. Peter recognizes the stranger on the shore and jumps in the water to swim to him. You see the common elements. The disciples are in a boat. Jesus makes a miraculous appearance, and Peter ends up in the water.

More significantly, our passage just sounds like a resurrection story. The disciples are huddled alone in the dark. Jesus appears and is thought to be a ghost. There is doubt and fear. Finally, Jesus is recognized and worshipped. Do you see the similarity to some resurrection accounts?

There are some very real questions about this passage that cause some to wonder. Does it make sense that Jesus would send the disciples ahead while he stayed behind to pray? How did they think that they were going to get together again? And at the end of this story, the disciples worship Jesus and declare that he is the Son of God. Is there anywhere else where Jesus allows himself to be worshipped prior to the resurrection? And this recognition that Jesus is the Son of God comes before Peter’s confession in Matthew 16 that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God. What makes that confession so profound if all the disciples had already made a similar confession?

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