Why did Jesus walk on water?
By Jim Boesch
Question: Why did Jesus walk on water?
Answer: To build trust without borders.
In all servant leadership development training I facilitate, I use the teaching model used by Jesus to equip His 12 disciples.
An early stage of Jesus’ influencing of these men centered on building their unconditional, unrestricted trust in Him. This trust would be paramount to the success of preparing them to become leaders who would establish the church for the ages.
One example was when the disciples were confronted with what appeared to be a man walking on the water toward their boat in the midst of a horrendous storm.
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
What stopped Peter from concluding his walk on the water was the borders of his human thinking that people just don’t do that. He was internally guided by what he couldn’t do rather than by the possibility of what he could do through Christ.
At times, I still struggle with self-imposed borders on my thoughts and actions. These restrictions hinder my becoming the person God is raising me to be.
But, when I trust in and focus on God’s presence in my life, I find Him bombarding me with ways to live in His presence.
Today, I want to share one of the resources He has provided.
In the fall of 2015, I heard a song while attending my daughter’s church that had a wonderful lyric at the end that began to haunt my soul. I didn’t remember the name of the song and didn’t ask because it didn’t seem to be that important. But those few words that dealt with the theme of trusting without borders just continued with me.
In August, I received an email with a link to a song I felt compelled to access. There it was again; this song about trust and borders.
Once I heard again, I captured it electronically and have listened to it every day since. I have built a devotion around it and have shared it at the beginning of six different ministry meetings. Most recently, I shared it with a wonderful group of Virginia UM Men at a visioning retreat.
The song is called Oceans (Where My Feet May Fail). It is about the experience Peter had that stormy night on the Sea of Galilee as he continued his journey of committing to trust in Jesus.
I personally relate to the story told in this song as I struggle to trust in God’s plans for my ministry with Him. Invariably though, just as Peter momentarily lost his faith and Jesus saved him in his moment of weakness, in my heart I know He will do the same for me as I seek to trust him without the borders I impose on myself.
Words of the song that are particularly empowering to me:
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.
As we all continue to discern God’s calling on our lives as kingdom builder and servers, may we put our trust in Him and Him alone––without borders and restraints.
Jim Boesch, deployed staff
General Commission on UM Men