Summary: They saw Jesus walking to them; walking on the water. He had seen their desperate condition, and He was concerned for them, like a father for his children. He came to them, walking on the sea.
-Spring, AD 29-
Sea of Galilee
Lesson: Walks on the Water
22 Immediately Jesus told his followers to get into the boat and go ahead of him across the lake. He stayed there to send the people home.
23 After he had sent them away, he went by himself up into the hills to pray. It was late, and Jesus was there alone.
24 By this time, the boat was already far away from land. It was being hit by waves, because the wind was blowing against it.
25 Between three and six o’clock in the morning, Jesus came to them, walking on the water.
26 When his followers saw him walking on the water, they were afraid. They said, “It’s a ghost!” and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus quickly spoke to them, “Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.”
28 Peter said, “Lord, if it is really you, then command me to come to you on the water.”
29 Jesus said, “Come.” And Peter left the boat and walked on the water to Jesus.
30 But when Peter saw the wind and the waves, he became afraid and began to sink. He shouted, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught Peter. Jesus said, “Your faith is small. Why did you doubt?”
32 After they got into the boat, the wind became calm.
33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, “Truly you are the Son of God!” (NCV)
After the five thousand had been fed, Jesus sent His disciples away, aboard a rented ship, to the other side of the lake. Then He dismissed the crowd and went up into a mountain to pray. In the Gospel of John, we are told why He so hastily broke up the crowd, “Jesus knew that the people planned to come and take Him by force and make Him their king, so He left and went into the hills alone.” (Jn. 6:15) He sent the disciples away, because He knew that the people would not leave as long as they were around. The disciples didn’t want to leave without Him, but they left out of pure obedience. He was alone then, which was His intention, and He prayed to The Father. He was there for a long time, because it was not until the following morning, the forth watch of the night, that He was seen by the disciples. When night had fallen and the ship was about three miles out on the Sea of Galilee, they encountered a sudden storm. It was during the forth watch; sometime between three o’clock to six o’clock A.M., and they saw Jesus walking to them; walking on the water. He had seen their desperate condition, and He was concerned for them, like a father for his children. He came to them, walking on the sea. This is a great show of His power and sovereign control over all nature; the water is under His feet and at His command its very nature and qualities are changed. The disciples were nearly exhausted from rowing all night, and when they saw Him they were afraid, because they thought they were seeing a ghost; but Jesus reassured them; He said, “It is I.” He didn’t have to identify Himself, because they knew His voice. And now, we can see Peter’s great affection for Christ; because he desired to go to Him. When He sees Christ, whom, he no doubt wished would save them during the storm; he became impatient to be with Him. He doesn’t say to Jesus, “Let me walk on the water,” as if he wanted to be part of a miracle; But he asks, “Let me come to you.” He wants for Christ’s sake to go to Him, no matter how. Here you can see Peter’s faith and resolve, because he stepped out on the water when Christ asked Him. He left the safety of the ship, even willing to slip into the depths of the sea, which he had just a few minutes earlier dreaded. He demonstrated a very strong dependence upon the power and word of God. But now we see Peter’s cowardice and Christ reproving and then helping him. Christ didn’t ask Peter to come to Him just so he could walk on water, it was because He knew that he could sink; then he would know Christ’s power and his own weakness, and his faith would be increased. The cause of his fear was the wind and waves, which he didn’t see until he took his eyes off Christ. When he kept his eyes on Christ, it was easy for him to walk on the water; but when he looked away and saw that he was in danger, he was afraid and he began to sink. And he cried out, “Lord save me.”