When Jesus walks across the water in Mark 6, it’s not like he’s performing a card trick to amaze his friends. He’s not showing off. And it’s not something he did all the time. Jesus walks across the surface of the sea in order to communicate something very specific to his followers in this particular moment. In the middle of their struggle to obey his command to go across the lake to the other side, in the middle of their fear of the storm and their frustration at being blown off course, Jesus comes to them as only he can. He walks on the water and calms the winds to say clearly to them, “I am God.” And “I am with you.”
“Take courage. It is I. Don’t be afraid.” ~Mark 6:50
Actually, Jesus doesn’t say, “It is I.” The original Greek words in this verse are eigo eimi — “I AM.”
Only God, the Creator of heaven and earth, walks on the water and treads the sea. Only God Almighty calls himself “I AM.” Jesus comes to his disciples in the middle of their fear to say, “You’re not following a great prophet like Elijah, you’re not following a scriptural superhero like Moses. I am God.”
And he climbs into the boat with them.
“I am God. And I am with you. I’m right here. I’m in your boat with you. We’re doing this together.”
It’s important to notice that Jesus doesn’t rescue his followers out of the sea. He gets in the boat with them. And he takes them to the other side. What he commanded them to do, he did with them. For them.
Jesus is saying, “I’m doing this with you. We’re together. I have dominion over heaven and earth, I’m in charge of the skies and seas, I have authority over the earthly powers and the demons in hell — and I am with you. I will carry you through this.”
He who began a good work in you will carry it through to completion.
The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
“Take courage. I AM. Don’t be afraid.”