John 6:14-21 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” 15Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. 16When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.
In the fourth sign, Jesus fed 5000 men from just 5 loaves and 2 fish. When the people recognized the miracle that had taken place, they immediately thought Jesus to be the prophet. They likely thought he was the prophet to be like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15). Jesus knew this would lead them to make him king, which he did not want to happen at that moment. Jesus went off to the mountain by himself. It’s likely he left in a way that no one could either notice, or follow him. He wanted to be left alone. Not even his disciples followed.
The disciples waited until dark and Jesus had not yet come back. They then decided to get on their boat and cross the sea to Capernaum. As they were rowing their boat across the sea, they struggled as the wind was strong, causing the sea to be rough. It is estimated that this journey could not have been less than six miles. At the three or four mile mark, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat. This frightened them. Jesus would calm them, because apparently they didn’t know it was him. “It is I; do not be afraid.” They gladly took Jesus into the boat, and then suddenly the boat was at the land they were going to.
Questions for Study and Meditation
- Why do you think Jesus wanted to be alone, instead of just escaping with his disciples? In the times that you feel like you want to be alone, do you think Jesus can relate to that feeling, or is what Jesus doing different?
- The disciples waited for Jesus and eventually gave up and went on their way. What are times in your life that you were waiting on God, but eventually just decided to go your own way?
- As the disciples went on this “Christ-less” journey, the ride became very rough. In your own personal “rough journeys”, how often do you find yourself going “Christ-less”?
- In the times you recognized Jesus with you, was the journey the same? If so, was it easier to handle?
- What is the significance of Jesus walking on water?
Jesus reveals himself as basically the master of the universe. He is master over creation. He is not subject to the laws of physics or nature, but nature is subject to him. Jesus could have had other ways to get to the other side. He could’ve even teleported himself there if he wanted. But this miracle, walking on water to the disciples in rough waters, demonstrated to the disciples that he is the Lord of creation.
On top of that, another miracle takes place. Once Jesus gets on the boat, the boat reaches the other side. It was as if the boat teleport-ed the extra 2-3 miles.
We sometimes find ourselves trying to lead our lives on our own, without Jesus in our boat with us. We feel as if we can do it ourselves. Yet, we are rejecting the Lord of the universe. Wouldn’t you want him with you? As the disciples did, you should gladly accept Jesus into your life.
In week 5 of this Lenten season, let us remember that Jesus is the Lord of Creation. There is no one on this earth more powerful than him. Yet, despite all that power, he humbled himself to the point of suffering and death on a cross. Jesus wasn’t defeated on the cross. Jesus let it happen, because he loved you. If Jesus loves us so much, why wouldn’t we want him in our boat?
Rev. Alex Kolath
Vicar, Immanuel Mar Thoma Church, Virginia.