Lesson 31

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

6:16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 6:17 and they entered into the boat, and were going over the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not come to them. 6:18 The sea was rising by reason of a great wind that blew. 6:19 When therefore they had rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia, they saw Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing near to the boat; and they were afraid. 6:20 But he said to them, "It is I. Don't be afraid." 6:21 They were willing therefore to receive him into the boat. Immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

 Today's Lesson

The event that is described in today's scripture in generally described as Jesus walking on the water It is recorded in Matthew, Mark and John. Each of these gospels ties this event directly with the feeding of the 5000. There is similarity in the telling in each case. John does not make much of this episode. Matthew's version is the fuller of the three. In John's Gospel, this incident is a sign to His disciples of Jesus' power over nature.


Jesus had gone up into the mountains to get away from the crowd. At evening, His disciples enter a boat and are crossing the sea to Capernaum. Jesus remains behind in the mountains. Many of these men were fishermen, in fact, several of them owned boats and it was likely that they were in one of their own boats. These were men familiar with the Sea of Galilee. They were in their own backyard, so to speak, and doing something that they were familiar with.


The Sea of Galilee is known for its erratic weather. Storms can brew up suddenly. It is likely that this storm came on quickly. Experienced fishermen would not have ventured out on the water at night if the skies at sunset had looked threatening. Or perhaps the skies had been threatening, but Jesus had instructed them to go over to Capernaum by boat and they were obeying His directive. In either case, they find themselves about 5 to 6 miles out from where they began in a strong wind.


Into this frightening situation, another frightening thing happens. While they were straining to make headway rowing the boat, they see a figure of a man walking toward them on the waves. Mark and Matthew record that they thought the person was a ghost. In any case, they became even more frightened.


As Jesus draws near to the boat, He calls to them and says, "It is I. Don't be afraid." When they recognize that it is Him, they receive Jesus into the boat with them. In Matthew and Mark, the storm is immediately calmed when Jesus enters the boat. John records here that as soon as He entered the boat, they were immediately at the destination they had been struggling to get to.


The writer of the Gospel of John does not go into detail as to what the disciples thought about this incident or why it is important in this gospel. The facts are given and we are called on to make of it what we will. How Jesus walked on the water is not explained, just as the multiplication of the loaves of barley was not explained in the previous incident. We are simply told that Jesus did that which would otherwise be impossible to do.


What are we to make of this? For Jesus, nothing was physically impossible. We are told that He did nothing except what the Father told Him to do. So, the Father told Him to walk out on the water and rescue His disciples in this manner. One thing that we can take away is the certainty that wherever we are, we are never out of the grasp of the Son of God. He is Lord of the wind and the waves. He is Lord of whatever troubles we may find ourselves involved in.


Psalm / Next Lesson / Past Lesson / Lesson Archive / Home

© 1998 adailywalk.com - These materials may be reproduced as long as they are never sold in any form.