When evening came, the disciples went down to the shore. After a while, they got into a boat to make for Capernaum on the other side of the sea, for it was now dark and Jesus had not yet come to them. But the sea was getting rough because a strong wind was blowing.
They had rowed about three or four miles, when they saw Jesus walking on the sea, and he was drawing near to the boat. They were frightened, but he said to them, “It is I! Don’t be afraid!”
They wanted to take him into the boat, but immediately, the boat was at the shore to which they were going.
Today’s gospel reading reports a strange miracle. It describes Jesus walking on the sea.
But immediately a question arises in our minds about this particular miracle. What was its purpose? This is a natural question because almost all the miracles of Jesus (healings, exorcisms, raising of a dead person, multiplication of wine or bread, etc.) have a beneficial purpose. They aim at helping people. In that respect, how does that miracle of walking on the sea compare?
Here we are reduced to speculations, because neither Jesus nor the evangelists answer this question. Well, at least two answers come to mind, both possibly correct. First, Jesus could see that his disciples were having a hard time battling the strong winds, he had pity on them and came to reassure them by his presence as fast as he could reach them, namely, by walking on the water, and thus taking a short cut. Second, he wanted to give them another proof of his divinity by doing something impossible for a mere human. This miracle would make their act of faith in him easier. At any rate, it seems that this miracle, too, like all the other miracles, was inspired by Jesus’ compassion.
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