Here's a transcript of a question I sent in to the Bible Geek which Bob Price read and responded to in the August 27 podcast about 52 minutes in:
"In Dennis MacDonald's book The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark he puts forward the idea that as Mark wrote his gospel he imitated the epics of Homer but sometimes altered the story in such a way as to show how his values were different from Homer's. I think I've found an example in the gospel of Matthew where Buddhist scriptures (you read right!) are imitated with a twist in order to emphasize different theological values. Buddhism was alive and well in the Hellenistic world (Wikipedia has some good links and historical references on that) and there were apparently Buddhist missionaries in the Middle East/Mediterranean prior to the gospels. In the Buddhist scripture, (Jataka 190), there is a story about a disciple of the Buddha who begins walking on water but begins to sink after he loses his meditational trance. The point of the story is that you can do anything through focus. Contrast this with Matthew 14:22-33 in which a disciple of Jesus begins to walk on water but sinks when he loses faith. Point of the story: You can do anything through faith.
"I think the early Christians knew about the Buddhist story (it was likely present in the culture of the time) and imitated it but with their own change in order to show how their values differed from Buddhism. Though many others have noticed this similarity and Randel Helms has suggested borrowing, as far as I know I am the first one to recognize why it was borrowed. What sayest thou?"
By the way, you can now purchase Robert Price's Deconstructing Jesus and Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable Is the Gospel Tradition? for your kindle for under ten bucks each. Fascinating books.