John 6:16-21

Read: John 6:16-21

Jesus’ miracle of walking on the water is another one of the miracles of Jesus that is recorded in Mark 6:45-52 and Matthew 14:22-33. John’s accounts notes that they went from Jerusalem to the “other side” of the Sea of Galilee before feeding the 5000. Luke places the feeding of the 5000 in Bethsaida on the north side of the Sea of Galilee. They started across the sea to Capernaum, which was not too far away from Bethsaida. While they were rowing, a storm picks up and then they see a man walking on the water. Jesus calls out to them to not be afraid, and he enters the boat. John does not record this, but here the apostles worship Jesus, calling him the “Son of God”. Matthew notes that Peter wanted to come out on the water and meet Jesus, but after he got out of the boat and he started walking to Jesus, be began to sink and called out for Jesus to save him. Jesus does so, but calls him of little faith.

The contrast between faith and fear is more evident in Matthew, but is certainly evident in John’s gospel too because Jesus said to them, “do not be afraid”. The word translated “φοβεισθε” is the base word from which the English word “phobia” comes from. In the Greek language, it carried pretty much the same meaning “fear” in the English language does in that it can have a good connotation and a bad one.  The good connotation is in respect to reverence or awe such as Revelation 9:4-5. The bad connotation is the one noted hear as being the antithesis of faith. Fear is a natural response to circumstances that are beyond one’s control or when something happens and one does not understand. In the case of Jesus walking on the water, Matthew notes that they thought he was a ghost and they did not understand that it was Jesus.

This does not necessarily indict the disciples. But what is apparent is that considering Jesus had claimed equality with God and had just fed 5000 people, they did not think of Jesus first. Christians today are no less fickle than the disciples were in that often times Christians default to fear in light of uncertain circumstances rather than calling out to God. Being fearless does not mean that one should go out of their way to place themselves in fearful situations, but inevitably fearful situations will come. Knowing that Jesus will never leave a Christian (Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:5) is an assuring fact. For this matter Christians can rest assured that in any situation Jesus will be there to help one along.

Lord, help me to trust in your in all things!

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