In the instant Jesus entered the boat they immediately reached the shore toward which they had been slowly making their way (John 6:21). This is such an extraordinary story. The disciples were going across the sea to Capernaum, but weren’t making much progress since the sea was getting rough and a violent wind was blowing. Then the disciples spotted Jesus walking on the sea approaching the boat and fear grips them. He tells them: I AM; stop being frightened! When Jesus went aboard they IMMEDIATELY reached the other side as if they were taken there by a supersonic rocket.
We have all been aboard that boat struggling towards the ‘field of repentance; city of comfort’ (Capernaum). Jesus is somewhere out there apart from us while we desperately try to become like Him. We never measure up, do we? Condemnation and low self-esteem prevail while we on the verge of total exhaustion hang on the oars inching forwards. The rough sea and violent wind do not make it any easier. With gritted teeth we fight against this growing sensation that our undertaking is impossible.
Then we spot Jesus somewhere out there in the perimeter. He seems unaffected by the waves and the wind there He walks on the water. We cannot approach Him so He kindly comes to us. Honestly, we prefer to keep Him at a distance. Having Him too close just increases this feeling of being a failure. We are afraid He will put into the open all our shortcomings – expose them for all to see. Instead He yells over the howling wind: Don’t be afraid!
Willing and glad we invite Him aboard. Our resources are spent. In the instant we acknowledge that He isn’t apart from us, but in us we reach the other side. Have we changed and become what we struggled towards in that fraction of a second? What happened? Our self-perception has definitely been taken on an ineffable ride.
The city of comfort is a place of acceptance and repentance. Here we cast aside every faulty notion about having to be like Him. Besides, Capernaum is fragrant with self-acceptance. The mystery is that when we perceived ourselves alone on the sea we saw ourselves as hopeless sinners, but together with Him safe on the other side we by a firework of revelations come to terms with that we are saints being everything we are meant to be – complete in Him. The suddenness of our arrival on the other side without any effort on our part is a mighty testimony concerning the futility of self-effort and further tells us that Jesus is our Sabbath rest.
It was in the instant we recognized Him as us and received Him as so we reached the other side of the intractable sea. Somehow He is telling us by this that we always were perfected in Him, but we didn’t know. Therefore we rowed like madmen on a sea subjected to appearances. When the scales fall from our eyes we are mysteriously and suddenly free to be ourselves as right selves.