Jesus Walks on the Water

Door B B Koster gepubliceerd in Theologie

Part 1

The people who saw the miracle Jesus performed with the five barley loaves and the two fishes, concede that He is truly a Prophet, so they propose to come, take Him by force to make Him king. But His task is not to be a ruler over Israel but to be a servant! So Jesus withdraws again to the mountain by Himself alone. Notice that John several times writes that Jesus is searching for a quiet place to settle down?

The evening dawns and His disciples went down to the sea, and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. The darkness falls in and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea begins to stir up because a strong wind is blowing. The disciples are rowing about three or four miles, and then they see Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat. They are afraid, but He assures them, saying: “It is Me; do not be afraid.” Of course they are willing to receive Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

In the next verses Matthew writes this: But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch (the Romans divided the night into watches of three hours each, and there were four watches to the night) of the night He came to them, walking on the sea (Verse 24-25) When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” (Verse 26-27)

Markus writes that Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray. When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them (Verse 45-48). Notice the words: 'He intended to pass by'! Another word for intended is purposeful. My opinion is that Jesus was testing again the faith of His disciples, in particular Peter, so that they could espy the spiritual condition of their hearts!

 

Part 2

Matthew is the only one who writes about the occurrence with Peter: he said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” (Verse 28-33).

After He had assured them that He was not a ghost but their Master, He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished, for they..................was hardened (Verse 51-52). Wow! This struck me deeply! Despite of all the things they heart and saw of Jesus and all the miracles He performed, they were still utterly astonished that He had power over wind and nature, because they hadn't gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened!

The next day the crowd on the other side of the sea sees that there is no other small boat there, except one, and that Jesus had not entered with His disciples into the boat, but that His disciples had gone away alone. Other small boats from Tiberias come near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd sees that Jesus is not there, nor His disciples, they themselves go into the small boats, and come to Capernaum seeking Jesus. When they find Him on the other side of the sea, they say to Him, “Rabbi, when did You get here?”

You notice that the crowd is very selfish, only thinking of themselves, their health and their stomachs, instead considering Jesus' physical and spiritual health? They are chasing Jesus all the time ad nauseam until they find Him on the other side of the sea in Capernaum. The people are wondering how He had traveled to that place without a boat and without anyone seeing Him walking to that place.

 

Lesson (summary) from this story

Jesus is all the time in control, no matter what the circumstances are. He makes His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him, while He is sending the crowd away. After bidding them farewell, He leaves for the mountain to pray (Mark 6:45-46). Even though Jesus is almost the whole night alone on the mountain praying,  on the land He sees them in the middle of the sea, straining at the oars (Mark 6: 47-48). The disciple's hearts where hardened so they had to be tested. Jesus clearly shows that He is Ruler over nature and therefore fully able to walk on the stormy waters, for He is God manifest in flesh! When it seems to the disciples that all hope is lost He is there to assure and save them, calm the storm and bring the boat safely to land. 

 

Written by B.B. Koster © - Translated from Dutch by Google; corrected by author.
Used Bible translation: New American Standard Bible
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15/10/2017 12:57

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