sexta-feira, 25 de novembro de 2016


Shortly before dawn
Jesus went out to them,
walking on the lake.
Matthew 14:25 (read 14:22-33) – NIV

"Life is a journey by boat,
bobbing in the waves of ignorance,
sailing on a sea of mystery."
James Fowler, Stages of Faith

This story uses powerful images that reach the depths of the human soul - threatening stormy waves and a fragile boat. Also there is the contrast between the fear of the force of the sea and the power of faith to calm storms.

In Bible stories the sea represents obstacles, hazards and uncontrollable and unpredictable forces. In the Genesis flood the whole world became a sea and destroyed most of mankind, animals and birds. The Red Sea was an obstacle to be overcome on the Jew`s flight from Egypt. The sea became dangerous because of the sin of Jonas as he fled from God`s command. Paul suffered shipwreck. Revelation forecasts a paradise without a sea.

In the Bible, the boat represents safety. Noah's ark was the salvation of the human race and the fauna. Jonas lost the ship's safety by being disobedient to God's commands. The church identifies itself as the ship of salvation and adopts the boat as a symbol. On it souls find safety from the stormy sea of life and sometimes a sinful "Jonas" is tossed overboard to preserve its purity.

This passage speaks of our spiritual life. The sea and the storms are God made, but boats are made by humans. Churches and theological systems are "spiritual boats" which we build according to our lack of faith and our fears.

Could it be that the smaller our faith, the bigger we build our religious boat? We think great temples, concentrations, movements and religious manifestations are works of faith. Really? Being a man of faith, Jesus did not need a boat. His faith was not the temple, but came from meditation and prayer, alone on a mountainside. In contrast, we are more similar to the 450 prophets of Baal who relied on their shouting on Mount Carmel (I Kings 18:26-29). To what extent does our religiousness represent faith and not fear? Are we afraid to get out of the boat?

Faith may not calm the storm, but can give us strength to overcome the waves. Life`s waves may be huge and produce fear, but love can cast out fear. By getting out of the boat and facing the waves with faith we can bring hope to those who are rowing against the adverse winds of life.


Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

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.”

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