Sunday, August 10, 2014

Buoyant Faith

It was a long day. Crowds of people were following Jesus, and they were excited to learn what He would teach them! Jesus taught some great lessons, and pretty soon it was supper time. The people were getting hungry! They were pretty far out in the countryside, and the disciples suggested, “Hey Jesus, why don’t You dismiss everyone so they can go get something to eat?”

Jesus replied, “Nah, no need. You can feed them.”

“Um, Jesus?” they said, “Do you know how much that would cost?! There’s no way we could go get enough food to feed such a huge crowd!”

So Jesus answered, “What have you brought to eat?”

When they checked, they managed to get together five small loaves of bread and two fish. Hardly enough to feed a crowd that probably had more than 10,000 people in it! There were 5000 men in the crowd, but when you add in the women and children, that’s a lot of people! They had the people sit in groups on the grass.

Jesus took the measly supply of bread and fish and looked up to the sky. He thanked God for the food and broke the loaves of bread. Then He started breaking the bread. And breaking more. And more. He kept breaking bread and passing it around, and pretty soon the whole crowd had food! They ate enough that everyone was full! Not only that, but when everyone was done eating, the disciples picked up 12 basketfuls of leftover bread and fish!

When they were done gathering the leftovers, Jesus told the disciples to get in the boat and go to Bethsaida on the other side of the lake. After they left, Jesus told the crowds they could go home, and then He went to a hillside to pray. While He was praying, a storm started brewing. Later that night, Jesus looked out onto the lake, and He could see the boat, about in the middle. The waves were crazy wild, and Jesus could tell that the disciples were having a hard time with the oars, trying to stay on course and not be knocked upside-down by the wind and the water! So Jesus set out down the hill.

The disciples, meanwhile, were having a horrible time keeping the boat under control. It was almost dawn, and they still hadn’t heard from Jesus. It was all hands on deck as everyone was trying desperately to keep the boat afloat. Then they saw it. Someone was walking toward them…on the water! People don’t walk on water, so it couldn’t be a person. That left only one option. It must be a ghost! They were already terrified of the wind and the waves, and now here was a ghost coming toward them! What would it do when it got there? They panicked! Then they heard a familiar voice coming from the “ghost.” “WHOA, DUDES!” came the shout over the loud ruckus of the wind and waves. “IT’S JUST ME! DON’T FREAK OUT!” That was definitely Jesus’ voice, but how could He be walking on the water?

So Peter had an idea. “Lord, if it’s you,” he shouted, “tell me to come to You on the water!”

Jesus shouted, “Be my guest!”

So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water! He was staring at Jesus, but then he started to realize what was happening. The wind was making the water go everywhere, and people can’t walk on water! Peter looked down at the water…and started to sink. He cried out, “LORD, HELP!!”

Jesus reached out and took Peter’s hand, and he said, “Oh come on, Peter, where’s your faith? Why did you doubt?”

As soon as Jesus and Peter climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Just like that. The disciples couldn’t believe it!

The sun was coming up as they reached the other side of the lake and let down anchor at Gennesaret. People in that area recognized Jesus and quickly got a crowd of people together who were sick and hurt. Wherever they went in the nearby villages, anyone who touched Jesus’ robe was healed.

© Steven Sauke
Marker on Paper

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