When Jesus lived among us, many miracles were credited to him: feeding the hungry, healing the sick, restoring the paralyzed, giving sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, even raising the dead. There are other kinds of miracles too; still, Jesus' miracles were generally acts of compassion and mercy. His pattern was to use his power to show his love for the world, especially for the suffering. And so certain other miracles seem off-pattern: entering through a locked door after his resurrection, or walking on water.
And so I was interested when I heard my pastor's thoughts about this morning's reading, when Jesus walked on the water to his disciples crossing the lake in their boat at night. I have often heard that text preached with reference to fixing our eyes on Jesus amid the storms of life. I have heard it preached as Peter getting out of the boat, considering whether we have the faith to take that first step. I believe this is the first time I have heard it mentioned that Jesus did not ask Peter to get out of the boat, did not expect Peter to come to him: that the point of this miracle was so that Jesus could be with them. Jesus could have just as easily met them on the other side of the lake, as the disciples may have expected. His presence was for their safety and comfort. He did not meet the boat in the middle of the lake because he needed help getting to the other side; he met them because they needed him.
I can see Jesus' miracle of entering through a locked door in the same light: it is a minor miracle where the power is small; the compassion is the vital part. The disciples were in hiding, in fear for their lives against the same corrupt and godless establishment that had ordered Jesus' death. And in Jesus walks as the proof that their lives are not so disposable as all that, that earthly powers are not so final as all that, that God is greater. As he said when he met them, "Peace be with you." It's the pattern of the miracles.