Summary: Jesus walked on the water, but there are actually 7 miracles listed in this passage.
Please turn in your Bibles to John chapter 6. To begin this morning, I want to ask you when was the last time you have been absolutely amazed by Jesus Christ? When is the last time you marveled at Him? I mean when have you gone into shock and awe at this Miracle-working God-Man? 2 Thessalonians 1:10 says, “He comes back to be marveled at among all those who have believed.” We will be marveling at Him and worshipping Him throughout all eternity, and the passage we are going to look at today should cause us to stop what we’re doing, consider what He’s doing, and just plain marvel at Him.
The last time we were together here we saw an overview of this chapter. We saw that even though this is the longest chapter in the New Testament that it was really just three stories: the first is the miraculous feeding (verses 1-15), the second is the miraculous walking (Jesus’ walking on the water—verses 16-24) and the third is the miraculous teaching (verses 25-71).
Just as a review, last time we met we looked at the first story and saw that Jesus tested His disciples by asking them where they were going to buy bread to feed the multitude, and the disciples immediately went to their brains to try to figure out a solution to their problem, instead of going to Jesus who already had the solution before He presented the problem, so we talked about how easy it is for us, when facing testings and trials in our lives to immediately want to start figuring out a solution on our own, rather than going to Jesus Who has a solution already. And we showed how John 6 verse 6 can help get us through any trial or testing we ever face: “He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.” So Jesus fed the multitude with a few loaves and fishes, again demonstrating that He is God, that He can do miracles, and that He Himself is all we need for life, and godliness.
And finally we saw this feeding of the multitude as pointing forward to the gospel, as verse 48 and on tell us that Jesus came down from heaven that His own body might be broken on the cross, to give life to all who believe. The cross is where He feeds the multitude by giving His life so that our sins might be forgiven, and that we might have eternal life.
Today we move on to the second story, the miraculous walking where Jesus walks on water. Now you probably know that this story has been mocked by numerous rationalists, those people who just can’t believe in the miracles. They’re intelligent, logical, thinking people, and they just can’t believe someone could walk on water. So they say anything from the disciples were outright lying, to they didn’t really see Him walking on the water, they saw Him walking on the shore. But I say to you that if this story is not correct then we might as well throw away the whole Bible because if one part is wrong the whole thing is wrong. So its either this book that’ wrong, this book that has stood the test of time and science for 4000 years, or it’s the rationalists that are wrong.
Let’s read the story, starting with verse 16:
16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. 20 But he said to them, "It is I; don’t be afraid." 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. John 6:16-21 (NIV)
So let’s look today at just two things: First, the causes of their fear, and second, the solutions to their fear.
So here’s the situation: the luncheon is over, evening has come, so the disciples get in their boats and begin to head home for the night. But soon they are faced with difficulty in their boat. Notice 3 problems in verses 17 and 18. First, it’s dark out and it can be scary to be in a boat on the water, at night. You constantly wonder what you are going to run into, and it’s downright frightening. But not only was it dark, verse 18 tells us that a strong wind was blowing. Now if you’ve ever been in a rowboat, or canoe, or something you paddle in the water, when the wind is strong it gets very difficult to make progress. In fact from the time it got dark until 3:00 in the morning, they had only made it about 3 miles. So it’s dark, they can’t hardly see, and they’re fighting a strong wind and hardly getting anywhere. And finally, because the wind is strong the waters are rough. So they’re paddling around in this storm at night, being tossed about and making very little progress.