Key Texts: Matthew 14:24-33, Mark 6:47-52, John 6:16-21
Three texts describing one event, and revealing four miracles.
1-Jesus walking on water, Mt. 14:26, Mk. 6:49, Jn. 6:19.
2-Jesus enabling Peter to walk on water, Mt. 14:29.
3-Jesus enforcing calmness on the lake, Mt. 14:32, Mk. 6:51.
4-Jesus transporting the boat to shore, Jn. 6:21.
These events constitute the fifth great sign of Jesus’ divinity as told by John. His divinity is proved as being the bread of life which supersedes the force of life in the earth, as well as our soul in our bodies. His statement of being “living” bread constitutes power. The disciples in the miraculous meal didn’t learn the spiritual truth revealed until much later, Mk. 6:52. They understood the basic statement of Christ’s deity being real, Mt. 14:33, but didn’t understand the implications of God with them! The devil failed in his attempt to make people take Jesus as king by force, now satan tries to kill the disciples in this storm. The devil succeeded in using Herod to kill John the Immersionist, but God still had work planned for the disciples. If and when God allows the devil to use his tool of death on us, it is only because God can see us as having successfully completed His will in our life, when we have finished doing what He has planned for us, that achievement is rewarded even if the devil does painfully take us to a physical death, it is Jesus who helps us through it, leading us to a spiritual doorway of life, Jn. 10:9. Because He is the bread of life, we need to feed on daily, which will eventually be turned into one eternal day in heaven, for there is no night there, Rv. 21:25 & 22:5.
Since God in Jesus has work prepared for them, they must be personally introduced to His power working through them. Therefore Peter experiences walking on water, and previously the disciples had a massive multiplication of bread & fish to distribute through their hands to thousands of people. To estimate the ability of distributing enough food for 5000 men besides women and children, we might divide 5000 by 12 and see at least 417 meals multiplied by Jesus via each one of the 12 disciples. A conservative estimate of the total mouths fed may be 8750 on this day, and a few days later, 4000 men were fed, again including women and children may be a total of 7000 people, bringing the total to 15,750.
The series of miracles connected with the feeding of the 5000 and more, is seen as enforcing God’s presence as the answer to our problems. The stormy lake was leaving the disciples at risk of losing their lives without Jesus, and to see Jesus coming toward them against the wind they are battling, but going faster then all of them in a boat, must have been frightening. Peter’s words, “if it is you, bid me come”, is not reflecting Peter’s doubt about the identity of Jesus. But it is Peter’s pride in his prominence over the other disciples in the boat, to be selected by Jesus to walk on the water, and Peter does it by only one of the words of Jesus, “COME”. If a ghost said to you, ‘come’, would you? Later on, this kind of prominence in Peter’s character gets him in trouble, Mk. 14:28-30. No matter what our character, when we are in the midst of overcoming temptation, we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and never look at the waves.
The Sea of Galilee is 13 X 8 miles. It is thought the crossing was about about 6 miles to Capernaum. A furlong, based on the Greek stadion, at about 607 feet, the distance rowed by the disciples, was between 2.87 and 4.01 miles, or about half way across the lake. The timing of it was during 3-6am. John is clear that when Jesus got up onto the boat, they were immediately at the shore. The calmness of the storm and it’s timing of their arrival at the shore leaves an unexplained 2 miles covered. God’s presence makes time & distance pass quickly, our life is a vapour in the abundant life with Jesus, James 4:14. We should delight in getting to stay busy for Jesus every day of our life, not just on Sundays.