In the account of Jesus walking on the Water in John’s gospel (John 4:16-22) the author means for us to see it as a story about God’s Presence with Us. On the surface, this isn’t all that obvious. But if we are mindful of the Old Testament parallels, John’s intent becomes clear.
First, John’s description of Jesus’ actions bears a striking similarity to how Genesis describes God. God hovers over the depths, while Jesus walks on the water. Second, John’s story alludes to images from the Exodus. In this act of deliverance, God allows his people to walk through the water. This is, in a manner of speaking, what Jesus is doing. Finally, John’s story borrows a metaphor from Mark’s (earlier) Gospel: the boat as the church. Taken together, these allusions help us understand John’s intended meaning about God’s presence with us.
The church, without Jesus’ presence, wastes its efforts and gets nowhere. Also, Jesus reveals who God is to the church. And finally, Jesus shows us that he is more powerful than the forces with which we must contend.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
- If it’s so easy to do church without Jesus, how do we make sure we aren’t excluding him from our church’s life?
- If the Jesus’ revealed in the Gospel is really the true picture of God, in what ways do my mental concepts of God need to change?
- Are there things that God calls us to do that we shy away from because we’re not sure if he will protect us while we are doing them?
MORE SERMONS IN THIS SERIES