"Let the little children come to me . . ."
Immediately after feeding the 5,000, Jesus directed his disciples to get in their boat and cross the Sea of Galilee. He would dismiss the crowd, He told them, then meet them on the other side.
Soon after the disciples set out, a fierce storm arose. Now, the disciples had seen Jesus' power over the seas just days before, when He'd brought an end to another storm by simply speaking to the wind and the waves. But Jesus wasn't in the boat with the disciples this time, so they found themselves battling the storm alone. And being experienced fishermen, they turned toward the weapons the knew best: their oars.
All night long, they rowed in a desperate effort to reach land.
Jesus, meantime, dismissed the multitude as He'd said He would, then went up into the mountain to pray. Once His prayer time was ended, He set out to meet His disciples.
Now, in better weather, they might have been waiting for Him. But try as they might, the couldn't seem to get their tiny ship out of the stormy sea and to the safety of the shore. And rather than wait for them, Jesus chose to go to them.
Step by step He made His way across the stormy sea. Oh, the waves crashed, and the winds blew, but they didn't bother the God who'd made the seas. He walked across the foamy surface with as much ease as a child dashing across a playground.
While He walked, the disciples continued to row, row, row. Yet with morning fast approaching, their effort brought them little closer to land. How thrilled they must have been to look up and see the One who governed the seas walking their direction, right? Wrong.
In fact, the sight filled them with terror. Why, they thought they were seeing a ghost!
"Take courage, is is I," Jesus hurried to assure them. "Don't be afraid."
Could it be true?
The disciples had seen Jesus calm the seas once before. They'd seen Him heal the sick, raise the dead, and feed thousands with the lunch of one small boy. But they couldn't quite wrap their minds around the sight of Him walking on top of the water.
Then Peter took a chance.
"Lord, if it's you," he said, "tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," said Jesus.
Peter obeyed. Stepping out of the boat and onto the water, he made his way toward his Lord and Master. Then something happened. Taking his eyes of Jesus and glancing down at the stormy water, Peter immediately began to sink.
"Lord," he cried, "Save me!"
Instantly, Jesus stretched out His hand and held him up. Together, they made their way back to the boat. Just as they climbed in, the wind stopped blowing. The lightening stopped flashing. Thunder gave way to silence. And the disciples looked on in amazement and worship, saying "Truly you are the Son of God."