Miracle Story Essay
Jesus performed many miracles that were described in the Bible. Many of these miracles involved some form of nature. The gospel of Matthew tells of one particularly noteworthy miracle. In Matthew 14: 22-32 the story of Jesus walking on water is told.
This is one of the more commonly taught miracles in Churches and study groups. Chapter 1 begins by telling that Jesus sent his disciples ahead of him in a boat onto the lake. He stayed behind while the crowd that had gathered with them dissipated, and then went to pray alone. While the disciples were out in the boat the wind picked up and began to cause them trouble. During what the Bible refers to as the fourth watch of the night, the group in the boat sees him walking to them across the water. The disciples were mystified and frightened at the sight of someone walking on the top of the water, because the lake was deep and walking on the surface of the water was a mortal impossibility. The men on the boat began to cry out in fright stating that it must be a ghost coming after them. Jesus told them to calm because it is him.
Peter attempts to make sense of what he saw by saying that if it is really Jesus to let him walk out to him. Peter then got out of the boat and began walking on the surface of the water also. He became frightened at the wind gusts and started to sink due to a loss of faith. He cried out for Jesus to save him. Jesus pulled him out of the water and stated he had too little faith. Both joined the others in the boat and the wind calmed down. This is an ideal example of a miracle to use in teaching people about faith, because it has all of the elements of a miracle and shows what happens when people demonstrate faith or a lack of faith.
It shows what the power of faith can do for people. This is a perfect representation of how Jesus used nature to perform a number of his miracles, because it involves the use of at least two different aspects of nature wind and water. He allowed the setting for the event by sending his disciples ahead of him to allow him some private time to pray. By the time he was finished with his private time, the disciples had developed concern about their treatment by nature.
The wind was blowing their boat around and the waves were beginning to make them nervous. Instead of taking another boat to join them he chose to defy the laws of nature by performing the miracle of walking to them across the surface of the water. Because of the density of the water people can only stay on the water’s surface if lying flat to disperse body density. If an average person attempted to walk on the surface he would immediately sink to the bottom. Although Jesus’ disciples did not have the scientific knowledge of why people did not have the ability to walk on the surface of the water, whey were equipped with the experience to know it could not be done. For this reason they assumed it was a spirit that did not have human form and thus would not sink into the water. When Peter asked to join him, the extent of the nature miracle became even more apparent as Peter was able to defy the same laws of nature and walk on the surface of the water, until he showed wavering in his faith. When he lost faith, he immediately began to sink as a normal person would.
An additional example of how nature plays a part in this miracle involves the behavior of the wind. The wind gusts were high enough to make the disciples uneasy and continued to blow as Jesus walked across to join them. After he joined them in the boat, however the wind instantly calmed.
When looking at the story of this miracle from a theological perspective the message becomes relatively clear that Jesus is trying to show his disciples that nothing is out of the realm of his capabilities and if people have unwavering faith nothing is out of the realm of possibility. He is demonstrating the power faith to his disciples and uses Peter as an example of what happens both when a person demonstrates faith and when that faith begins to waiver. Peter showed courage, trust and a great amount of love for Jesus to overcome his fear of the strong winds and waves to leave the safety of the boat and go out onto the water. He was so overwhelmed by seeing his leader coming to him and shows this by his excitement to go to him.
This is an ideal example to demonstrate how the disciples were dependent upon Jesus for their comfort and safety every day and the amount of faith they placed upon him to keep them out of harm’s way. He directed them to go ahead of him in the boat and although they would have preferred to not go out without him, they had faith in him and did as he directed. They became concerned with the weather, but had faith that he would not abandon them. Although they were surprised to see him walking to them across the water they readily accepted that it was him and were immediately comforted by his appearance. This story shows how God’s people are not independently strong, but through him can reach beyond their normal limits. People who have faith in God will be comforted by him and have fewer reasons to worry.
It additionally shows what happens when people lose sight of their faith and how quickly they can falter. The story is not told to give followers the idea they are invincible, but simply that God is always with his people and will give them comfort. A miracle can be defined as “a work wrought by a divine power for a divine purpose by means beyond the reach of man”. There are a number of other ways to define what a miracle is or what qualifies a specific event as a miracle, but it always comes down to something that does not happen in daily life and ca not be performed by mortals under normal circumstances.
There are a number of factors in this event that make it the perfect example to place here as an example of a miracle to demonstrate his control over nature and the faith of his disciples. This particular event qualifies as an example in the most basic sense. It was an example of something that the average mortal man could not do. Even in the time of the event people were aware that they could not simply step out of a boat and walk across the water without sinking. They had never heard of gravity or particle density. They simply knew that when people were in water they sank. Jesus contradicted that knowledge by doing something that had not previously nor since been possible. Not only did he do this himself, but he made it possible for Peter who was in every sense a mortal man, accomplish the same feat.
Additionally by letting Peter begin to sink into the water when he lost faith, he reestablished the normal consequence of a man climbing out of a boat in the middle of a lake. He then rescued him again as they both entered the boat. Upon entering the boat, Jesus once again demonstrated his control over nature and the deviation from what would be possible for mortal man to perform, by causing the strong winds and frightening waves to calm.
Through these actions he performed actions that were only possible to be performed by a divine being outside of the realm of the normal scheme of possibility. This miracle would be difficult for people of any time frame or scientific knowledge base to comprehend, because people who have been around water understand the basics that people walk through water and not on it. There is some difference however about the way people of modern times who have a basic working knowledge of scientific principals and the people before modern science viewed the miracle.
During the times of Jesus most people believed in some kind of spirits or aberrations of past relatives. When the disciples saw Jesus walking across the water they said that it was a ghost or a spirit, which could have meant they thought a spirit was coming to guide them into the afterlife or they were not going to survive the storm. People in modern society horror movies have desensitized people to the idea of ghosts and spirits. For this reason people are less likely to believe such things are real and would have been more skeptical of ghosts and spirits and would thus have been more inclined to look for a logical explanation for the sudden appearance of a person on the surface of the water. In the age of water skis, surfboards and jet skis it is much less out of the ordinary to see a person appear to be standing on the water. Other than the fact there was a storm and they feared for their lives, people in current society would possibly have paid little attention at all to the person on the water’s surface simply assuming he was using some kind of floatation device.Because people in Jesus’ time had less technology and science to lean on for a knowledge base, they more readily accepted miraculous events as fact without questioning them.
If the event had happened in a modern setting the disciples would likely have checked Jesus from head to toe to find out what kind of device he had used to allow him to float. This is one disadvantage of advanced technology; it has inhibited people’s abilities to have unwavering blind faith in anything including God.From a teaching aspect this story is an ideal example of how Jesus teaches his followers that nothing is impossible for those who love him and put their trust and faith in him. This story was not told to test God to see what miracles can be performed and how many millions can be made for a person. The story was told to provide comfort to God’s people by showing them that if they have enough faith in God even the most insurmountable obstacle can be overcome.
Jesus not only showed what he himself was capable of, but what he can help people through if they ask him for help and believe he can and will help them. It shows how Jesus’ disciples cared enough and trusted him enough to do as he told them even though they were uncomfortable with the storms. They had faith that he would care for them and would not send them out without his care. The story shows the great faith Peter had in Jesus by climbing out of the boat to go to him even knowing that mortals did not have the capability to walk on water.
He was able to walk on the water as long as his faith remained strong.During the time this miracle took place, the disciples as well as other followers needed to renew their faith and by performing the series of miracles which included the feeding of the five thousand, walking on water and calming the seas helped to restore this faith. By using this idea it could be said that currently God’s followers could use some renewing of faith. By teaching about this miracle to the church, it might be more possible to see some of the small miracles in daily life. Jesus used miracles to show the people in his time the power of faith and they are still taught today to reinforce this power.
Jesus chose to use a miracle to restore faith in his disciples in a time when they needed it. When the disciples realized it was Jesus coming across the water to them they were comforted by the fact. Peter was so happy and comforted to see him that he asked him if he could go out and join him. He did not do this to test Jesus as the Bible warns people against, but rather to show his intense joy at seeing his leader and protector .He trusted Jesus to keep him from harm and when they were in the boat Jesus calmed the winds to allow all of the disciples in the boat to safely reach the other side.
God’s followers in modern society do not have to fear for their lives as much for following him, but they still face challenges to their faith. In fact scientists have challenged the validity of the very miracle Jesus used to restore the faith of his disciples. Some scientists have gone so far as to claim that if the water had a thin sheet of ice on it, it would be possible for mortal man to have walked on the water. These claims are an attempt to explain away the miracle that actually happened.Because of the constant challenges to faith, it is important to use Jesus’ miracles to continue restoring faith to his people. Even the strongest followers occasionally need reminders of the power of faith, the rewards for remaining faithful and the consequences that can happen when attention is turned away from God. It is important for people to keep their eyes and minds on God and his plans. For those who maintain faith that he will protect them and care for them the rewards are great.
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