Jesus Walks on Water

Again, we’ll contrast the miracles of Buddhism with a famous one from Jesus in Matthew 14:22–33 (NLT):

22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
JesusWalksOnWater24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”
27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.

It’s a famous story. Its power comes from the God who created the universe. Its point is in verses 31-32, to help Jesus’s disciples recognize Jesus as the Son of God and to teach them about faith. It’s also benevolent, as Jesus saved the disciples from a powerful, sudden storm.

We can contrast this with the previous miracles from Buddhism. Instead of glorifying an individual who himself makes no claim to being a god, this one glorifies the Son of God.

Next time we’ll ask: Why don’t we see miracles today?

The Miracles of Buddhism

The Dhammapda contains the sayings of Siddhartha Guatama, the Buddha. Buddhists are essentially atheists who don’t believe in a god at all, but rather in an impersonal, endless cycle of reincarnation. The goal of the Buddhist is to end the cycle and merge “into the One,” like a drop of water merging with the ocean. Essentially their goal is personal, spiritual annihilation.

In Dhammapada Ch. 4, Sec. 12, a man tries to make the Buddha look foolish. buddhistTempleHe sets a trap by making empty pots look as if they had food and then invites him to a feast. But the Buddha causes the man’s pots to fill with food. The man then tries to lead the Buddha into a pit filled with burning coals. But the Buddha causes lotus flowers to grow up from the pit.

The source of this miracle is an individual. And all the glory went to an individual—the Buddha. And the point was to gain another disciple for the individual. The second miracle was, however, benevolent.

In Dhammapada Ch. 28, Sec.12, a young Buddhist monk was able, through Dhamma meditation, to gain supernormal powers. Then when his master was ill, he flew to a distant lake and brought back some water. Afterward, the monk appeared before the Buddha who asked him, for the benefit of other monks, to go again to the faraway lake using his flying ability. When the young monk returned, the Buddha pointed him out to the others as an example to follow.

Who was glorified here? The young monk. The purpose? To show that practicing Dhamma meditation can give the individual supernormal powers. But the meditation is a self-serving, selfish pursuit. It only benefits one person. There is no benevolence in the act. It glorifies only that individual, not God.

While all the miracles of Buddhism glorify and derive their source from the individual, all the biblical miracles come from God, glorify God, and confirm his message and messengers.

Next, we’ll look at another miracle of Jesus on the Sea of Galilee.

Jesus Feeds 5,000 From Five Loaves and Two Fish

We just saw how, in 1995, stone and metal Hindu statues suddenly starting accepting milk. Those documented miracles glorified created things, possibly leading people away from the Creator God. Now let’s contrast that with another miracle of Jesus.
Matthew 14:13–21 (NLT):


JesusFeeds500013 As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. 14 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”
16 But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.”
17 “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered.
18 “Bring them here,” he said. 19 Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. 20 They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. 21 About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!

In contrast to a bunch of stone and metal statues drinking some milk, we see a compassionate Jesus feeding 5,000 men (not even counting the women and children) from a single basket of fish and bread. The purpose was clear—to confirm Jesus’s message, his compassion for others, and to declare Jesus as the Son of God.

Next time, let’s look at a miracle of Buddhism.