The Bible lesson for The Special Gathering this past week was the story of Jesus walking on the water taken from the Gospel of Mark.  In this account of the story, Jesus doesn’t invite Peter to come out on to the water but rather he intends to walk past the disciples who are in the boat.

I often puzzle over the entire incident.  This story reeks of magic, an illusion, a trick.  Of course, I know that this was a miracle but what was the purpose?  In recent months I’ve see there are several explanations.  First, it was the quickest way to get across the lake and Jesus didn’t intend for this disciples to see him.  Only when he realized that they were scared out of their tunics did he acknowledge who he was, get in the boat and calm the sea.  I sort of reject that explanation because if this were true, why didn’t he skirt around the boat so they couldn’t see him at all.

The second was that Jesus wanted to get the attention of the disciples to teach them a lesson.  That is pretty reasonable to me.  After all, at The Special Gathering which is a ministry within the mentally challenged community, the presenter will use an attention-getting device before the devotional actually begins.  If you’ve taken any preaching courses or courses regarding public speaking, you know that this is a time-honored technique used by successful preachers and other presenters.  However, Jesus had already gotten the attention of his disciples.  That afternoon he had fed about 20,000 people with next to nothing.  They were already impressed.  He had their attention.

The third reason kind of coincides with and combines the first two reasons.  Perhaps Jesus wanted to his followers to understand in a concrete way that they could depend on God to do miracles in even the simplest areas of their lives.  He knew they were straining to row the boat in the storm.  He got on the boat and calmed the storm.

A few weeks earlier, he had calmed a storm and rebuked the disciples because he was asleep on the boat.  “Didn’t you know I was in the boat,” he had asked them.  This time there was no rebuking but calming of the storm.

Within the mentally challenged community, there is a woeful lack of self-esteem.  Most of our members carry with them the stigma of their disability.  While professionals and parents do a wonderful job of helping them to understand their worth as a human being, only God can give a holy understanding of who we are to him, without the lousy side effects of self-pride.  The disciples experienced a miracle in the middle of a common storm in the life of a fisherman.  I believe God wants us as people who are developmentally disabled to understand that we can also experience miracles in our everyday life and during the common storms of life we must face.  He loves us that much.

Have you seen God work miracles in the lives of your members?  Has God done a miracle for you?