Summary: Proper 14 (A) Christ comes to us and saves us.Therefoer we may be confident that we are safe in Christ despite all trouble.
May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in Thy sight,
O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
“He comes to rescue”
Our Gospel today is a familiar one, one we have read many times during our lives. We may even recall hearing it as a small child. And the double amazement we felt, in learning not only that Jesus walked on the water, but that Peter walked on the water, too. Perhaps you thought about what that would be like, how cool, nifty, neat-o, swell, or whatever was the term in vogue at the time. Maybe you even tried to walk on water at the pool. Disappointed in your endeavor, you may have wondered why you failed.
So, what’s this miracle all about? Well, it’s about Jesus. After feeding the multitude of 5,000, Jesus herds His disciples into a boat and sends them across the Sea of Galilee. Then he dismisses the crowd of people, and again goes off to pray. When he is finished praying it is night time. He is on the mountain. The boat with disciples was in the middle of the sea. The wind was blowing and the waves were growing. Now Jesus walks on the water to go out to them.
Jesus comes to them. He did not leave them to fend for themselves in the water. He did not go around the sea, and wait for them on the other side. Waiting to see if they can and will make it across. No, Jesus goes to them, He comes to them.
Jesus comes to us, also. He comes to us in His word, when we hear it read in church, or when we read it at home. He comes to us in His word when we remember it in our hearts, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Or when we pray His word, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
He comes to us in baptism, bringing us into His kingdom, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. He comes to us in His own body and blood in His supper.
The first thing we learn from the account of this miracle is that Jesus comes to us. He is not a god far away. He does not demand that we somehow make our way to Him. He who came to us in Bethlehem, Emmanuel, God With Us, is still with us, and still comes to us daily, created people on earth that we are.
What happened next? The disciples saw Jesus a-walking on the water, but they did not know him. They were sure it was a ghost. And scared witless. So Jesus calls out to them, “Cheer up. It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” So Jesus comforts them. How does Jesus comfort them? He comforts them with His promise “It’s me.” And because it is Him, He reassures them that they need not be afraid.
Jesus comforts us, too. He tells us, “I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” And “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” We know Him, Jesus, to be Redeemer and Lord. And because He is our Redeemer and Lord, we can cheer up, and have no fear. Notice what did not happen, what Jesus did not say. He did not say, “Cheer up, because it’s all going to be smooth sailing.” He did not say your “troubles will melt like lemon drops, away above the chimney tops.” What did He say? “It’s me.”
It’s the kind of greeting you say to someone you know and love, and who knows and loves you. It’s a reassurance that it is He, Jesus, Lord of Land and Sea, and that He has come to us, and is with us. And because He is with us, we need not fear, no matter what is happening to us or all around us.
Jesus comes to us, and He comforts us. He also catches us, that is He rescues us. Now Jesus had just said to the disciples, “It’s me.” What does Peter do? He says, if it’s you Lord, command me to walk to you on the water. Jesus said, “Come.” So Peter walks on the water to Jesus. The wind keeps blowing, the waves keep growing. Peter sees the turmoil around him and is frightened. He sinks and cries out, Lord, save me. Jesus stretched out his arm, grabs Peter, and saves him.
Jesus rescued Peter. Stretching out His arm, He rescued Him. Jesus did not say, Just keep going, Peter, or yell, Swim, Peter, swim! He did not say, you are the one who decided to get out of the boat. You are the one who is frightened. You got yourself in, now get yourself out.