Summary: Jesus defies the principles of gravity and space in his fifth sign which is given only to the 12 disciples on the Sea of Galilee. Look for the picture of the Gospel in this sign!
“Jesus Defies the Natural Order of Creation” John 6:16-24
We looked at Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the 5,000 men (probably close to 10,000 people in total) from five barley loaves and two fish. This miracle of Jesus demonstrated His creative power more than any other so far in His ministry and probably is one of the most outstanding examples of Jesus’ Deity. It also sets the stage for Jesus’ dissertation concerning Himself as the Bread of Life in verses 22-59, some of which we read last week leading to our participation at the Lord’s Supper. Signs in John’s gospel always point to a greater spiritual reality, and the reality is this: Jesus was not merely an earthly prophet/teacher or king, but Jesus is God come down from Heaven to announce the Kingdom of God and provide the only way into God’s Kingdom.
Today we look at the account of Jesus’ Walking on the Sea of Galilee and we pick up the setting of that account in John 6:14: “When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, "This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!"
They recognized Jesus was a prophet/teacher but did not accept His Deity. They did not understand the powerful signs and miracle pointed to Jesus as the Promised Messiah of the Old Testament, that Jesus was indeed the Messiah sent from the Father’s side to be the one and only Mediator for the sins of mankind to everyone who would believe and follow Jesus.
15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
Two things on verse 15: First of all the word for “perceiving” is to KNOW. So Jesus possessed supernatural knowledge of the thoughts and intents of the people’s hearts. This goes back to John 1, that Jesus is the giver of all Life and then in John 3 and John 5 this principle of Jesus as the discerner of the human heart is taught again and again. Here it surfaces one more time. No mere man (part of the created order of God) will make God do anything: Finite Man cannot impose his finite will upon an infinite God who created Him. Jesus reigns in the hearts and lives of those HE chooses. (John 1:12-13: Receive (assent to), believe (continue to receive and follow), given heavenly authority (Humans are born of God into God’s family. Man never imposes His fleshly will upon God.
Isaiah 40:13-14 is quoted by Paul in Romans 11:34: “Who has understood the mind of the Lord or instructed him as his counselor? Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding?” God’s creatures have never given Him any counsel or convinced Him to do anything at all that He did not know or ordain. He IS GOD, we are creatures made by Him to bring HIM glory.
The second thing is that phrase: “Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.” Jesus did this often times in His ministry: He withdrew to have fellowship with the Father. Our fellowship with God was broken at creation: Adam and Eve hid after they disobeyed God. They died to God morally and spiritually. It is only by the Lord Jesus Christ and the new birth from above that we again have a new spiritual heart that longs for fellowship with this great God who created us and saved us by sending His Eternal Son into the world to die for our sins and He sends His Holy Spirit into our hearts and gives us new life, He grants to us Heavenly Kingdom citizenship and desires by adopting us as His own Children, born not by the will of man or the flesh but by God. He gives us a new identity and eternal purpose IN CHRIST and for His Glory alone! Praise His Holy Name!
This account is an abbreviated account compared to the synoptic Gospels’ accounts. (Matt. 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-52. There are synoptic comparative points from Matt. And Luke at www.gotquestions.org/walking-on-water.html) This study will only examine John’s Holy Spirit inspired words to us is this passage.
This Sign/Miracle was witnessed by the disciples alone and here are the things to notice:
1. Jesus transcended the limits of gravity and space.
2. Jesus’ “walking on water” is a declaration to them that He is “Lord of Creation”.
3. They will be the ONLY ones who witnessed the Feeding of the 5,000 who would not abandon Jesus, because Jesus had called them.
Look at John 6:16-21: “When 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. (Capernaum was Jesus’ headquarters during His Galilean ministry, probably in the house of Peter, means “the act of glorying” Gr. Jesus was spending time in prayer with His Father. The disciples went out into the darkness of the night without the Savior’s accompaniment.)