A teacher of mine told us of a theory about this passage and others like Jesus’ baptism and the transfiguration. The theory goes that the disciples really didn’t understand that Jesus was more than just a wisdom teacher until after the resurrection. At that point Christians started to debate whether Jesus was sent from God, was God, or became divine in his resurrection. These stories are a part of that debate. Stories of Jesus after his resurrection get moved back in time to before his crucifixion in order to argue that Jesus really was divine from birth.
In some ways I find this notion comforting. It says there was a variety of beliefs about Jesus and who he was and what his mission was amongst the first Christians. And that in turn makes the kerfuffle of ideas in a typical Quaker meeting okay.
In another sense that doesn’t help me much. Because I don’t have the experiences of the first Christians. I only have my own. And that includes a bible with stories in the order that the first Christians gave to me. I can only work with what I got and not what I don’t got.
As I mention in my earlier posting on the loaves — it seems important to all the gospels that stories about miracles on stormy waters be sandwiched with miracles about creating food for hungry people. Miracles happen in the act of sharing. And if we carry them into the storms of this life we will weather them — for the one we follow walks above the waves.