E100- Sometimes its not what you say but how you say it…

 

So, looking this week at some of the miracles that we can see in the Gospels, the things that Jesus apparently did, which seem to run contrary to our normal expectation of what can happen- supernatural events which if taken literally defy explanation. Today I was reading a passage in Matthew 14 where Jesus walks on the water (well, actually first of all I was reading a passage in Matthew 15 about someone’s daughter being healed, but that’s because I’m a numpty and can’t find the right page… but anyway).

The thing is, I’ve read this passage a dozen times over the years, and it fascinates me- did he do it? how did Jesus walk on water? Was it a mass hallucination? The answer I have for all those questions is what I’m looking at on Sunday morning, so you’ll have to wait for that.

However, there’s a phrase that sticks with me, something that Jesus says to Peter: ‘you of little faith’.  And the reason it strikes me is that we can read it so many different ways… Bear in mind, Peter has seen Jesus walking on the water in the middle of the night, and has said ‘if its you, tell me to get out of the boat and come to you’… and he has actually walked on water as if it were solid, until his doubts get the better of him and he becomes afraid. At that point, as he starts to sink, he calls out ‘Lord save me!’ And Jesus response? catching hold of him, he says ‘You of little faith’

You of little faith, shouted over the noise of the wind, to a fool who should have known better than to get out of the boat if he was going to be afraid?

You of little faith, called to a follower who keeps putting his foot in it and never seems to learn the lessons his teacher puts in front of him so often?

You of little faith, spoken to a friend who has so much to learn, so far to journey?

You of little faith, almost whispered to a man who is like a child in his arms, who thought he was about to drown but has been saved?

You of little faith, an admonishment that is a term of endearment at the same time?

You of little faith, but from little faith we will build a church?

You of little faith, but at least you had enough to climb out of the boat?

There are times when I read this passage, and I hear the voice as one telling me off for my own over confidence, and at other times I hear it as one lifting me out of my fears… 

Its not always the words we use, its how we say them that expresses their meaning…

How are you hearing that voice, those words, today?

(with thanks to Mike Pilavachi and John Ortberg for their wonderful teaching on this passage). For more by either of them, go look at stuff for Soul Survivor or here

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One thought on “E100- Sometimes its not what you say but how you say it…

  1. I personally believe that Jesus did walk on water and I can’t be swayed from that belief by sceptics. I also believe that Peter did too until he thought about it and lost confidence. We have all, I am sure, done something without thinking which would have been impossible had we thought about it first. You are right, the tone of voice, the expression of the face, the body language makes all the difference to a comment made. I am needing comfort and encouragement today.

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