“I Can’t Believe Jesus Walked on Water”
When I was an atheist I remember thinking how patently obvious it was that no one could walk on water. It so blatantly defies the basic laws of physics that it manifests itself as a betrayal of plain common sense for one and all!
Strangely, for me it was a bigger obstacle to faith than Jesus rising from the dead, which should logically be more remarkable and unbelievable. But I’m not alone it seems. Looking around there are a host of folk that are in two minds about life after death, but ask them if it is likely that a man walked on water and how many are still unsure? “This is clearly nonsense and therefore all else about Jesus can be dismissed with it!”
So now I am a believer, can I just believe in Christ’s resurrection and dismiss this infringement of the laws of gravity? Some may, but I think this is unacceptable. For a start, if you pick and choose which miracles you accept you are saying that the gospel accounts are unreliable. More than that, you would be accusing Mathew and John (both eye witness disciples) of lying. In any case, if you believe at all, is it credible to say that Jesus performed no miracles? They where his way of helping us see who he really was and is. They drew the crowds to him so that he could extend deeper aspects of his love to them. Without them the pharisees could have dismissed or killed him sooner without fear of an uprising against them.
However my conviction that Jesus did indeed stroll across the sea of Galilee, was of precious little help when a straight forward, no nonsense colleague stated that this was clearly ridiculous. I was left floundering and my answer was long, complicated and probably of little help. Having given it more thought, I think I have a clearer way of explaining it;
Imagine a lake full of fish. Their existence is bound by the water; in it they have life. They barely have any concept of the air above. They can touch the surface but it is suffocating and too thin to support them.
Now imagine a person, on a pontoon, leaning over the lake. They are in the wider world, apart from the fish – unable to enter the water to be with the fish.
But the time has come to come close to the fish. He is able to plunge his right hand into the water and have it appear to the fish as one of them. Now He is with the fish and they can fully relate to His Right Hand.
His Right Hand can behave just like a fish but because it is also the Fathers arm extended into the waters, it can do a host of remarkable things that ordinary fish couldn’t do. It could swim as easily through the air as in the water. This would be as hard for the fish to understand as it is for us to understand Jesus walking across the sea of Galilee.
God reaches in to the water as Jesus the fish, that he can bridge the boundary between the water and the sky – between heaven and earth. Now we can take the right hand of God and in repentance receive His spirit that we may at the end, cross over through Him from the waters to the sky!
If we don’t take his hand we will die and our bodies will sink into the depths. If we do we will enter the light!
I hope this way of looking sideways at the issue helps. I thing part of the problem of understanding God is down to us thinking that He is similar in nature to us. We try to make Him in our image when it is emphatically the other way round.
We look at fish, for instance, and see how limited they are compared to us, but that is as nothing to the difference between God and us. He is creator of the infinite universe, that we are only beginning to understand. He has existence outside of time and space; is present always and everywhere within His creation, unfettered by our four dimensional, material limits.
In Jesus he took on our form so he could embrace us in renewed intimate relationship, but we should not limit him to his human incarnation. He is the very Word of God by which he breathed creation into existence! Marvel not that he walked on water but that he chose to come and die for us!