“When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea. He intended to pass them by.” (Mk 6:47-51)
Like this isn’t cool enough, but are you ready for the deeper meaning? In reading “If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat” by John Ortberg, I came across a fascinating insight. The verb parerchomai is the Greek translation of “to pass by.” It is a technical term to refer to a theophany-those defining moments when God made “striking and temporary appearances in the earthly realm.” The same verb was used in the Old Testament with Moses and Elijah:
God put Moses in a cleft in a rock so Moses could see “while my glory passes by”…The LORD passed before him.
God told Elijah to stand on the mountain “for the LORD is about to pass by.” Each time the LORD passed by someone, He was getting ready to call them to do something extraordinary. I just love the insight of the Greek word. Jesus was not just walking on water instead of swimming or teleporting Himself to the other side. He was revealing Himself, in His glory, to the disciples. Oh, to have been a barnacle on the side of that boat and been witness to the LORD passing by.