Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sink or Swim

Fr. Foss delivered today's sermon focusing on Matthew 14:22-33. After treading water a while, we wandered into a sermon about Charlie's issues with the KJV which reads as follows:
22 "And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God."

I do not have an issue with that.

I think Charlie felt that the KJV translation painted Jesus as an imperial, imposing figure, particularly so in verse 31, or something like this,
When I read verse 31 KJV, and I give Jesus a gentle voice, the impression changes. Of course, this is me inserting my mind's desired voice. For, if the wind was "boisterous," Jesus would have had to use a loud voice to even be heard.

Charlie did not think the KJV was positive enough, and perhaps the newer translations corrected that problem, but the Charlie Foss version had a stronger image of Peter's love for Jesus. I got the impression that the new picture should look something like this,

It matters not which picture is used, the story has been one that has saved countless souls since Peter. On a personal note, just this week, someone witnessed to me the positive effect this story had on them during a very difficult time in their life. The story, for most adults stands on it's own as a Biblical gem that we can reflect upon whenever we fear we are sinking. For at those times, it gives us the positive message of hope that "Jesus will stretch forth His hand" and save us.


  1. The story does encapsulate the entire process of salvation: from Man's attempt to go it alone to an acknowledgment of our predicament to seeking and receiving God's grace.

    As for me, I always imagined Jesus holding Peter up and smiling good naturedly when he speaks the words in verse 31.


  2. This remarkable episode of Jesus walking on the water must have made a deep impression on the Apostles. Apparently it was one of those outstanding memories of the life they shared with the Master as it is reported not only in Matthew, but also by Mark (6:45-52) who would have heard about it from Peter, and by John as well (6:14-21).

    The episode has direct applications for Christian life. The Church also gets into difficulties and Jesus comes to the rescue after allowing His Church to wrestle with obstacles and be strengthened in the process.

    Learning from the faith of the Apostles on the waters of Lake Gennesarat, every Christian should approach the Communion table with a humble and contrite heart, keenly aware that "...when you approach the (Eucharist), remember that He has been awaiting you for twenty centuries." (J. Escriva, "The Way", 537)