We don’t have to swim in the sea of empire like a bloodthirsty shark. We don’t have to sink in the sea of empire like a drowning victim. We can walk with Jesus and stay above it all because Jesus is Lord!!
Winners and losers are false categories for Christians. We are not winners or losers, we’re believers. And one of the things that we believe is that there is another way. For us, categorizing people as winners and losers is a false category. Philosophically we would call this a “category mistake”. We don’t think in terms of this. We are not winners, we are not losers, we are believers, and we want to walk with Jesus on top of all this mess…
Of course, there is also a more personal way of seeing this fifth sign in John’s gospel. When it’s a dark and stormy night in your own life, you are not alone. Jesus will come to you. And when Jesus comes to you, everything’s going to be alright!! If you’re in a dark and stormy night…maybe you’re trying to get somewhere. Maybe you’re trying to get from one side to the other, you’re trying to get somewhere. But it’s a dark and stormy night and it’s rough, it’s hard going, the sea is churning, the waves are crashing. Your hands are blistered on the oars, you’re trying the best you can, but you can’t seem to get anywhere. You’re trying to get somewhere, but you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. You’re not even sure where you are. You’ve lost your bearings, you’re thinking “What’s going on here?” It’s scary, it’s foreboding, it’s difficult, you’re trying to get there. In your moment of panic, you finally cry out in terror because you think this could work out badly for me, this could be the end of it. In the midst of your most desperate moment, Jesus says “Hey! I’m here. It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” Jesus wants to say that to everyone reading this today. “Don’t be afraid. I’m with you. I’ve come to you. You feel like you’re alone, in the middle of it, by yourself. You’re not in the middle of it by yourself, I’m here. I’ve come to you. Don’t be afraid.”
And your fear is relieved. Because faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ, who says to you “I’m with you. I’ll never leave you nor forsake you. I’ve come to be with you. I know it’s a dark and stormy night. You’re afraid of being swallowed up in these dark waves. But look, I’m on top of it!” Jesus is on top of your situation. The situation never swallows Jesus up. “The situation is under my feet”, Jesus says. “I’ve come to you. I’m with you, I’m for you. It’s going to be alright.”
In your relief, in your joy, you invite Jesus into your situation. That’s your boat. You stop trying. You’re so relieved, you’re suddenly so relaxed. You’ve got blisters on your hands. You’ve been rowing for hours. You’ve been so frightened. In the panic mode of your crisis you cry out, but Jesus says “Hey! Don’t be afraid, it’s me, I’m here. It’s gong to be alright.”
And you’re relieved, you let Jesus into your situation, you’re happy, you just stop trying. You’re still in the middle of it, the winds are blowing, but you let Jesus in, and all of a sudden you feel a little bump. “What was that?” Jesus smiles and says “We’re there. We’re home.” But we were so far out! How did we get here? Jesus just winks. Must have been a shortcut.
That’s good news. That’s a sign for you to see…
“When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.” John 6:16-21 ESV.