Have you ever read John’s account of when Jesus walked on water? [John 6:16-21] It goes something like this:
The disciples were trying to get across the lake when daylight faded and a storm hit. They rowed hard for three or four miles trying to reach the shore before the boat sank. Suddenly, they saw Jesus walking on the water, and they were afraid. Jesus said, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they were glad, they let him in the boat, they immediately reached the shore, and they all lived happily ever after.
Well, I kind of added the happily ever after part. But, what about the part where the disciples think they are seeing a ghost? Where is the story of Peter getting out of the boat? He struggled and nearly drowned until Jesus pulled him out of the waves. Surely John saw and felt and heard and experienced all of this. But all John really tells us is that the disciples were afraid, Jesus told them not to be, then everything was great. Why didn’t he tell us about it as Matthew did?
Maybe he didn’t tell us because he didn’t think those details were the point. Maybe he intended that we get a different lesson from the story.
John’s story, in bare-bones outline form, goes something like this: 1) the disciples are deathly afraid; 2) Jesus comes to them in their time of greatest need; 3) the disciples are safe and comforted. And, in the middle of it all is the main point, the main event, the climax, and purpose, and moral of the story: Jesus Christ. He rescued the disciples. He gave the disciples peace and comfort. He brought the disciples to their destination. He walked on water!
Don’t miss the point as you sit through sermons and Bible classes week after week; as you say your prayers, sing a few hymns, and eat a pinch of cracker followed by a splash of grape juice; as you struggle with temptation and marvel as the world goes down the moral toilet. Tradition, religion, spirituality, temptations, struggles, and morality are all part of the plot, but they are not the point of the story. Jesus Christ is the point of the story.