It’s evening and Jesus sends the disciples ahead of him. They are to cross the lake by boat, about a 5 mile journey, while he goes off by himself to pray.
The fledgling Church is in the boat “by now far out on the lake” and “battling with a heavy sea…” They’re in serious trouble. Some things never change!
Interestingly, the early Church adopted this scene, that of a boat battling with a heavy sea as an image of itself and its self understanding.
In the fourth watch of the night, between 3 am and 6 am, around dawn – and not until then – Jesus goes to them walking on the water. No hurry lads!
When they see him they’re already in a highly agitated state and his presence causes absolute consternation at first. It always does! This is classic Jesus.
Then typically Peter is the one who steps out and perhaps typically… he fumbles! There’s a moment when there’s no way back for Peter. It looks like it’s the end for Peter… then “Jesus put out his hand at once and held him.”
The disciples will go through a similar experience again when Jesus is crucified and they’ll prove that they haven’t learned a thing. They’ll think it’s the end and in fact the evidence will point conclusively in that direction. They’ll be highly stressed again, distressed, agitated, disillusioned… but then God stuck out his hand. So it was; the Resurrection, Ascension and Pentecost.
Only after Pentecost did the early Church stop fearing and falling down great big holes that carry the name ‘it looks like’ – meaning the real power of the Christian is in the supernatural.
The same dynamic is unfolding in the Catholic Church right now.
It looks like the Church is sinking, and the evidence in the western world is conclusive (not so elsewhere) but like Peter the Church will almost sink. When all looks lost Christ will put out his hand – and it’s a mighty big hand!
There’s a reason why the Church is sinking and it’s not the obvious suspects! The Church must be taken out so that the world will be “free” to develop in a particular way. The world wants to go down certain roads and to go down the roads God must be taken out, therefore the Church must be taken out. Indeed there’s a generation coming after us that has been almost completely sifted away from God. This is not an accident, this is a war and it will result in a time when much of the world will think it’s the end… a macrocosm of that moment when Peter realized he was sinking and there was no way back.
Then when the evidence suggests that all is lost God will act, as he did for Peter, as he did for the fledgling Church on Easter morning.
Never forget what sin does to the body of humanity!
I’m afraid all too often we believe like he’s not the son of God – and that’s really unbelief.