Walking on Water
By Gary Amirault
Most of us living in the Western world, whether we are Christian or not are familiar with some of the more dramatic miracles which Jesus performed. Surely among those that have captured our attention would be the time when Jesus walked upon the waters of the Sea of Galilee. Galilee means the "circuit of the Gentiles." From a Jewish point of view in Jesus' day, it would represent everything that was not "Jewish." The world was divided into "them" and "us." One group unrighteous dogs and the chosen of God, Israel.
It must have been difficult to be chosen by God who wanted to make Israel a "nation of priests" to the world, the dogs, who could not "tell their left hand from their right." Due to Israel's idolatry, God chose one tribe to be the priesthood tribe, the Levites. The priesthood of Israel was not only to represent Israel before God, but also the world. As a matter of fact, the fact that Israel stopped the sacrifices on behalf of non-Jews in about 66AD may have brought about its destruction in 70AD. After all, if it no longer served the purpose for which it was created, why keep it going? Besides, just a few decades prior, the New Priesthood had been established by the blood of Christ being sprinkled in the heavens and on earth.
According to the records of the Bible, Jesus rarely left Israel, and when he did, it was just to a neighboring country. There are very few accounts of Jesus dealing with non-Jews. When one non-Jewish lady asked for Him to heal her child, Jesus told her that He only came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As a matter of fact, He didn't think it proper to give the children's bread to little dogs (gentiles). (Matt. 15:22-26) This occurred north of Israel and is one of the few instances in which Jesus dealt with a non-Jew. I think it rather interesting that Jesus spent most of his life at the "Circuit of the Gentiles" which was filled with Jews during this period of time in history. Rarely did he visit Jerusalem, and when he did, it usually spelled trouble.
Jesus could have performed the miracle of walking on water anywhere he wanted. (Matt. 14:22-33) He could have chosen the Jordan which would have painted a very good spiritual picture for those of us who believe the Scriptures must be interpreted spiritually. He could have chosen the Dead Sea, another great choice. Jerusalem also offered many good locations which could have spoken volumes to us, but he chose the "Sea of the circuit (or circle) of the Gentiles," yet He said He came but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Listen oh ye heavens and taste your inheritance!
While Jesus only came to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, His heart was to reach the whole world which is what "the Circuit of the Gentiles" is all about. "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater [works] than these he will do, because I go to My Father." (John 14:12) Jesus walked on the literal sea of Galilee and He literally calmed that physical sea by His Word. We know that seas often speak of peoples, nations, and tongues. When the sea is raging, it meant the peoples are in turmoil, stress, or perhaps rebellion. Jesus could walk through a raging storm and speak it to peace. Jesus told us we would do greater things than these. Tell me, which is greater to knock a few waves down or to bring peace to the raging storms of humanity which bring about floods of blood from slain men? I am not diminishing the magnitude of Jesus' miracles. I am just agreeing with Him regarding what is more important, what is greater from God's viewpoint.
Jesus spoke to Israel, and a handful of gentiles. He spoke to us about greater works. Wherever Jesus went, He walked, except for the times we find Him on a donkey. I am writing this article on a keyboard located in an office in my home in Hermann, Missouri. In a typical day, I may open the mail and find letters from all over the United States. Some will be from overseas, Africa, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Spain, Japan, Holland, and many more. I will send letters, audio tapes, books, tracts, etc. to these people, the waters of the world. When turning on the computer, I will look at my E-mail, letters which may come in from responses to our articles posted on the Internet by Tony Hinkle, our precious friend and co-laborer. These E-mails may come from a grade-schooler from New York, a banker from St. Petersburg Russia, a Bible school administrator in Indonesia, a curator of the John D. Rockefeller Museum in Israel, a librarian asking if we can tell her the middle verse of the Bible, a seminary student asking a question about Bible software, an atheist testing my faith, a born-again homosexual seeing how I would treat him, a fundamentalist condemning me to hell, a Roman Catholic also condemning me to hell, or a sincere seeker looking for answers to the heart's cry. I may pick up my phone during the day and talk to a Vice President of a Christian publishing company about Bible translations, or the President of a Bible software company regarding the next generation of Bible software. I may talk to a wife who just lost her son to suicide or a man who is wrestling with alcoholism. I might send a package which may contain some music we recorded or a video containing some teaching on important words mistranslated in some Bible translations.
Jesus walked the shores of the sea of Galilee and He did mighty works, but never traveled probably more than one hundred miles from where He was born. I live on a small lake called "See Tal," a German name which means "valley of the sea." From my little office on the "valley of the sea" I can reach millions of people all over the world with a word of peace. I, as well as you, if you have met Christ, have been given the Holy Spirit, and we have within our hearts the ministry of reconciliation, a ministry which will bring peace to the raging nations of this world. I can turn on a photocopy machine and make thousands of copies of articles which may help someone on the other side of the ocean. Two thousand years ago, each copy would have had to be done by hand. I can zip up an entire book, attach it to an E-mail and give it to someone in India on the same day for almost free. From my little "Sea valley" I can reach my little community or touch just about any part of the world and I am not a rich man financially. God has indeed enabled us to cross His waters, the waters of humanity.
If I calmed a storm on the lake behind our house, it might get some attention for a while, but it wouldn't make this world a better place to live. But when we allow the Holy Spirit within us to reach out to the storms of humanity, one person at a time, we effect all of creation. Do not take lightly the power of the Word that has been deposited in you. Rise up and see the greater works, the greater miracles, leave the carnal side-shows looking for a sign and instead, be a sign from on high which speaks "Peace, be still!!" Rise up and walk the waters of the world and turn them into a sea of glass mingled with the fire of the Holy Spirit and the passion of the Lamb slain for the world. Rise up and enter into the works you were called to from the foundation of the world. Bring forth a passion for life which will cause you to burn and not be consumed. Don't be sidetracked looking for a burning bush, be a burning bush!