Walk on the water

John tells of Jesus walking on a rough sea, but who promptly reassures the frightened apostles by telling them: "It is Me, do not be afraid".

Gospel - John [16-21]

Meanwhile, when evening came, his disciples went down to the sea and, getting into a boat, they set off towards the other shore in the direction of Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea was rough because a strong wind was blowing. After rowing about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and approaching the boat, and they were afraid. But he said to them, "It is Me, do not be afraid." Then they wanted to take him into the boat and quickly the boat touched the shore they were headed for.

Exegesis - John [16-21]

At the beginning of this sixth chapter John gives us the episode of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes by Jesus, who presents Jesus as the bread that gives life. In the next passage, reported here, he tells us of Jesus walking on a sea "agitated because a strong wind was blowing", but who promptly reassures the frightened apostles by telling them: "It is me, do not be afraid". Then, having boarded the boat, all together quickly reach the shore to which they were headed.

The disciples thus have a further sign of the power of Jesus, which in this case even concerns a natural event (rough sea and strong wind). This story is extraordinary: Jesus calms the sea and the wind, nature was created to be at the service of man and not to be destroyed by him, however it can also become the setting for the actions of the "slanderer", the "separator", that is, of the one who, opposing the Creator, wishes to destroy the creature, man. Paul writes: "In fact, creation was subjected to transience - not by its will, but by the will of the one who subdued it [...]. We know well that all creation groans and suffers until today in the pangs of I'm leaving".
(Rom 8,20-23).

Creation, therefore, did not devote itself to the actions of evil, but was subjected to it by the one who wants to see it crushed and destroyed; and here we can see how nature itself can become, when it is at the mercy of the devil, an instrument to annihilate or create difficulties for man, which we find represented here by the rough sea and the strong wind from which the boat had fallen dangerously prey and his crew: the man who turns away from God by surrendering himself to the devil, allows the latter to act, disfiguring nature itself.

Now John reveals to us that Jesus, however, puts creation in a position to rediscover its balance; in fact, when he gets on the boat, everything calms down and creation regains its balance, its beauty. And the importance of this message is underlined by the fact that the same passage is reported by all the evangelists; Matthew, however, reveals other details: "Having then got into a boat, his disciples followed him.

And here a storm broke out in the sea so violent that the boat was covered by the waves; and he slept. Then, approaching him, they woke him up saying: "Save us, Lord, we are lost!". And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, Oh you of little faith?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Those present were amazed and said: Who is this to whom the winds and the sea obey?" (Mt 8, 23-27). In that "be silent" is contained the command that removes the advocate of danger and returns to creating his state of peace.

How can we not think of the temptations that Jesus had in the desert, when "the devil took him again to a very high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor, and said: - I will give you all this, if on your knees You adore me. But Jesus said to him: Go away, Satan! Because in the Bible it is written: Worship the Lord your God; to him alone you address your prayer. Then the devil turned away from him" (Mt 4: 1-11 ), he had to renounce his "power" over the world by virtue of a Creator (the Lord your God) who is the only one to whom to address adoration and prayers.

But when can Jesus act to restore perfect balance, peace between creation and its Creator? Evidently when man recognizes it; in fact, John's account emphasizes that, only when the disciples wanted him on the boat, the violent turbulence of the sea and winds could no longer prevent the boat from continuing rapidly towards the destination it was headed for: this emphasis is very interesting, as in that "wanted" is contained the voluntary decision to welcome Jesus.

We must be aware that where there is no Jesus there can be no peace, as the devil will find fertile ground to produce conflicts, discords, disorders. The strong wind and the rough sea depict the adversities, hostilities and attacks of the devil that we encounter on our way. How many times have we felt like a boat hit by the waves? But Jesus walks towards us to help us. So let us also welcome him on the boat of our life, so that we can reach the other shore, that is the goal to which we are called, returning to live free from the lusts and hiss of Satan. There will always be times when we will have to fight against the wind, because life is a constant struggle against difficult moments, temptations, suffering of all kinds; however we must not be frightened, because we will never be alone in this struggle: if we ask Jesus for help, He will come to meet us to face the storms of our life, to help us and free us from all evil.


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