Through the Bible in One Year

Day 133

John 6:16-24

Yesterday we saw Jesus feed between 15,000 and 30,000 people and because of this the people wanted to make Jesus their king, their earthly or political king not their heavenly king.  We saw that Jesus’ reaction to this was to “withdraw again to a mountain by himself.”  And in today’s passage we see what the disciples have decided to do while Jesus has withdrawn himself from the public eye.  For you see the disciples decided it was time to return to their home base of Capernaum.

When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 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. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.—6:16-21

The disciples got into a boat and headed to Capernaum later that evening, so this happens on the same day Jesus fed the 15,000 to 30,000 people.  The Sea of Galilee is susceptible to sudden storms.  It is more than 600 feet below sea level and surrounded by high hills.  After rowing three or four miles, the disciples saw Jesus approaching them, walking on the water.  The disciples were frightened, because they thought they were seeing a ghost, until Jesus identified himself and entered the boat.  While Moses led the Israelites through the Red Sea on dry ground (Exodus 14:22), Jesus walked on the surface of the sea.  Jesus’ walking on the sea was a powerful demonstration of his sovereignty over the world he created.  The Old Testament teaches that God alone rules over the seas (Psalm 77:16-20 and 107:28-30).  This was the fifth of Jesus’ seven signs.

The next day 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 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.—6:22-24

The crowd wondered where Jesus could have gone.  They knew that the disciples had departed without him and that he had gone up to the mountain.  After a small fleet of boats arrived from Tiberias, they began their search at Capernaum.  Tiberias was a large city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, that Herod Antipas built in honor of the Roman emperor Tiberius.  And we will pick from here tomorrow when we see what happens when the crowd finds Jesus again.

Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:

1 Samuel 15-16, John 8:1-20, Psalm 110:1-7 and Proverbs 15:8-10

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