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Searching for Jesus

When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified. 'It is a ghost!' they said and cried out in fear
1 Kings 19:9, 11-13; Psalm 85:9-14; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:22-33

Sermon Week Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 14:26

"Lord, give us a miracle," we pray. But that's not usually what we mean. Our problem with miracles is that they're so erratic, so unpredictable. They may occur here; they may occur there; it depends on something else. We say, "It depends on God." And that's the problem. We can't know for sure what's going to happen if it depends on God. God is not predictable, in this sense.

"Lord give us a miracle," we pray, but it isn't a miracle we want, it's magic. Magic is possessable, and it's predictable. And that's the difference between faith and magic. Faith is Jesus broken and "sweating as if it were great drops of blood" and saying, "Lord, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless, not My Will but Yours be done" (Lk. 22:42).

Are we ever satisfied with that "If" Jesus gives us? Wouldn't we prefer someone who would provide us with an "absolutely" instead? Faith is not always "sweetness and light." Sometimes it's not always "onward and upward." Sometimes it's a deep, dark valley. Sometimes it's a tragic "If" that ends in a cross or a tomb -- the difference between magic and miracles. -1

In front of a rural Church, there was a big sign on which the pastor regularly posted the sermon titles for the next two Sundays. One week the sign read as follows:

August 9 – "Jesus Walks on Water"
August 16 – "Searching for Jesus"

That's why we're here. We're searching for Jesus. We're searching for Jesus, the miracle worker. We're searching for the Jesus who can work miracles in our lives, transforming despair into hope and the little daily deaths we endure into new life.

Today's Gospel Lesson comes to us in the story of Jesus walking on water. Jesus has just performed the miracle of feeding thousands of people with only five loaves of bread and two fishes. Not wanting to see the crowd's enthusiasm turn the event into a popular demonstration, Jesus leaves the area hurriedly. He instructs the Apostles to get into their boat and wait for Him on the distant [...]

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