Wednesday After Epiphany
In the account of Jesus walking on water that we see today, two things are of note. The first is that Jesus “made His disciples get into the boat and precede Him to the other side toward Bethsaida” while He “went off to the mountain to pray.” The disciples were apparently reluctant to go, perhaps because they would be without Him. The second event worth noting is that when Jesus walks on water, He isn’t actually planning on getting into the boat with the disciples. Instead, “He meant to pass them by.” This statement is very much like how the Father revealed His glory to Moses by walking by him. Jesus meant to be with them spiritually and in prayer, but the disciples wanted His physical presence more. Jesus meant to reveal His glory to the disciples in one way, and they were not ready.
As we have seen the various ways that God shines His glory on us and reveals Himself to us during this week, we have constantly seen that He will not be reduced to whatever we think is most convenient and sensible. Coming to the end of the Christmas season, memories are still fresh over gifts given and received. Anyone who was present as children (especially small children) received their gifts know that not all of them know to say “thank you” to a gift received, and that the ones who say “thank you” do so because the ability has been cultivated in them with more than a little help from their parents. So it is with God’s glory. To be receptive to God’s glory is something that we must cultivate within ourselves with the help of grace. As we look through Scripture and our own lives, we see moments where God’s glory has shone in surprising ways, and moments where the intended recipient would not accept the surprise. In light of today’s readings, we would do well to think about how we can become more receptive to God’s glory, lest we end up like the disciples today, or an ungrateful child on Christmas.