Larry the Lubber
The opinions expressed by Larry the Lubber do not necessarily reflect the views of the crew — mostly because Larry is a pompous, sanctimonious authority on Scripture whose pontifications tend ter offend most everyone, even when he is right — which is ter often. – Staff
A good while after healing a fellow by the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem (“house of mercy” or “house of grace” and could also mean “house of shame” or “house of disgrace”), Jesus took the disciples with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida — which means “house of the fisherman / hunter.”
While there, Jesus fed 5000 men, plus women and children. The writer John makes an interesting comment prior to this feeding.
Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When Jesus looked up, he saw a large crowd coming towards him. (John 6:4)
John never comes back to this comment, never explains more about why he inserted this mention of the Passover. Only we know is that after the first Passover, when the Jews left Egypt to start toward their Promised Land, God gave them manna — “daily bread” — each day, as much as they needed. Now Jesus feeds the people from five barley loaves, multiplying the bread so that everyone had enough to eat. All ate as much as they wanted. And when the feast was over, all the remains were gather, twelve baskets full. Twelve baskets … twelve tribes marching toward a land of promises.
While Jesus dismissed the crowd, he made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to Capernaum. After the crowd left, Jesus went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Except the day before he had also been in prayer and morning the death of his cousin, John the Baptist. For Jesus, the crowd and feeding had interrupted his time of grieving and crying out to the Father. Later that night, when the boat was in the middle of the lake, Jesus sat alone on land.
When evening came, a strong wind blew and the waters grew rough. From on the mountain, Jesus saw the disciples straining at the oars, for on their west by south course, the wind was against them.
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water.
Think on this a wee little bit: after the Passover, when the Jews left Egypt and reached the Reed Sea, they found themselves trapped. The Egyptian army was pressing against them and the sea prevented them from fleeing. But God parted the Reed Sea so all the Jews could walk through on dry land. When the Egyptian army followed, the waters of the sea rushed back in and all the Egyptians drowned. Now we find Jesus walking on water as though it were dry land. So when John tells us that the Passover was near, perhaps he knew readers would think about how God made a way for his people to walk through water without drowning — how the Father fed them daily with manna.
In order to increase our faith, sometimes Jesus will send us into a storm where the outcome appears impossible. For his disciples this was such a time. Sent into a tempest, they feared for their lives. And what did they see coming toward them?
Frightened, and with Jesus about to pass them by, they called out, “It’s a ghost!”
But Jesus replied, “It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter said, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
Tell me to come to you … this is always a good prayer when we are in dire straits — when lives are at stake and we are in need of a miracle.
“Come,” Jesus said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. Of all the things man has accomplished on earth — sailing across vast seas, ascending the highest mountains, exploring jungles and lands — none compares to walking on water. Other than Jesus, Peter alone walked on water. What a blessing.
But when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid. Beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Some see these words as a rebuke, but could it not be that Jesus was paying Peter a compliment? If we have a little faith that is a foundation that can grow to greater faith. Perhaps Jesus is saying to Peter — and us: “You have faith. Why are you doubting?”
Then they were willing to take Jesus into the boat. When the pair climbed into the boat, the wind died down. At this point John Mark adds an interesting comment:
They were completely amazed for their hearts were hardened and they had not understood about the loaves. (Mark 6:52)
Five loaves turned into enough to feed thousands … water no longer a barrier but a path to the Son of Man, a storm instantly made calm. What are we hungry for today? What barrier prevents us from drawing closer to Jesus? What blessing is he trying to give us in the midst of today’s trials? Where do we need him to give us calm, peace, and protection in the midst of harsh circumstances.
Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Immediately the boat reached the shore of Capernaum, the Plain of Gennesaret, and they anchored.
The crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread (Bethsaida) after the Lord had given thanks. Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus.
Keep in mind that when Peter stepped from the boat he risked his life. Had he sank he quite possibly would have drowned. In fact later when he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the details of the storm, Peter did go under. Peter risked all to come to Jesus. Will we?
Consider that today’s storm may be sent by Jesus in order to increase our faith, bless us with a larger vision of his power and glory, and lead us to walk a life of miracles.