43 – Walks on Water

When: Spring, 29 AD
Where: Sea of Galilee
Mark, Matthew, John,


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Knowing that the people wanted to convince Jesus to become a traditional king, the Messiah, Jesus sent the disciples back to the boat with instructions to go over to Bethsaida, beyond Capernaum, while he went off to pray. At Magdala, when they had a chance to talk about it, the disciples knew that they had all night to cross the lake, so they did not hurry. They decided to do some fishing along the way. In that way the trip could be profitable.

They waited until sunset for Jesus to join them. But when Jesus did not arrive they finally left. By that time there was a fairly stiff wind out of the north and it was hard going. Progress was being made, but they had to give up their plan to fish. Then the wind blew harder and the boat was barely able to “hold it’s own”.

Around 1 am Jesus was sitting on a hill overlooking the lake. The sky was clear and the moon was bright. Jesus had been watching the lack of progress of the boat. He knew that they were not in trouble. Jesus decided that he wanted to be in Bethsaida to meet them when they arrived, so he started down from the hill.

By 3 am the disciples had gone about three or four miles. The wind was very strong now, progress was very slow, and everyone was tired. Suddenly the disciples saw a spirit rise up out of the “evil” lake. “This evil spirit must have called up the wind in order to destroy us”. Now the disciples were scared.

And then the spirit spoke. ‘Do not be afraid, God is here,’ said the spirit. The use of “I am” [God’s name] was something they believed that no demon would use. This could not be an evil demon. Then they recognized Jesus who had actually planned to walk past them.

Peter, always the impulsive one, thought, ‘if Jesus can walk on water, so can I, if he asks me to.’ Boldly he said, ‘Jesus, tell me to come out.’ And Jesus responded, ‘OK, come on out.’

There was no hesitation, no doubt in Peter’s mind. He immediately climbed out of the boat and walked straight toward Jesus following the advice of the Psalms. But as he got further from the boat he got distracted. He saw the wind blowing Jesus’ hair and clothes, and then he saw the waves. ‘What am I doing? I can’t do this. It is impossible. It was stupid of me to try.’ And he began to sink. He grew afraid and called to Jesus for help. Jesus grasped his outstretched hand and raised him up. Jesus then shook his head and smiled, ‘Why did you doubt, you were doing so well?’

Jesus led Peter back to the boat, helped him in, and then got in himself. The nervous energy had drained from the disciples so Jesus decided to go immediately to shore. They were only about 100 feet from the shore at Gennesaret. They moored the boat and waited for the morning.

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