The Human Side of Walking on Water

There is a striking detail mentioned during Mark’s account of Jesus walking on water. Mark 6:48-50:

And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” (ESV)

In the very moment of performing an action that gave a glimpse of the divine, Jesus has a very human moment. He intended to pass by the boat unnoticed, and failed in what he intended. The Incarnation was real, down to the flesh and bone. Jesus was human in every way, and as High Priest at the right hand of the Father, human still.

We see something similar at the wedding in Cana, where it seems Jesus is goaded by his mother into his first miracle. Turning water into wine, which John calls a manifestation of his glory (John 2:11), was an unplanned favor for his mom. God in the flesh, divinity mixed with the seemingly mundane.

We also know he could be taken off guard and surprised, as he was at being confronted with the centurion’s faith (Matt. 8:10).

This should give us great assurance. When Scripture tells us that he empathizes with our weaknesses, it is no mere lip service.

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