Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What Was Pete Thinking?

I've been writing skits to correspond with the morning devotions at an upcoming week of Bible camp. One of the days, we are looking at the story of Peter (briefly) walking on the water.

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

During the fourth watch of the night (between 3 & 6 am) Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

"Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." Matthew 14:22-33

Here's the question that always gets me about this story: Peter's statement, "Lord, if it's you, tell me to come to you on the water."

What if it had really been a ghost, as the terrified men initially believed? (Not that ghosts really exist, per se.) Supposing that ghosts actually exist, and are in the habit of taking early morning strolls on the wind-tossed surfaces of lakes, isn't it a possibility that they might lie about who they were?

I guess I have an evil sense of humor, but I'm thinking: If I'm a ghost, and I'm impersonating Jesus, when Pete says, "If it's really you, command me to come walking on the water to you," I'm gonna say, "Sure, Pete! Come on out here!" And then I'd laugh myself silly as he falls ker-plunk into deep!

Would that have been recorded, had it happened that way? If so, you can almost bet you'd find it in Mark, which contains more of Peter's gaffe's than any of the other gospels--at Peter's request, quite likely. (The tradition is that Mark was recording the reminiscences of Peter.)

Maybe additional work on the Gospel According to Melvin will turn up something like that.

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