Verse of the Day Devotion: John 6:19 

“When therefore they had rowed about three or four miles, they *beheld Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened.” – John 6:19  

Over the next week we will be looking at seven miraculous signs performed by Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of John.  These signs show that Jesus was not just some ordinary man but was truly the Son of God.  Today we will look at the fifth sign which is Jesus walking on the water.

After the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus left to go to the hills to pray. “Jesus therefore perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force, to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.” John 6:15. John does not say He went to pray, but we read this detail in Mark’s account. “And after bidding them farewell, He departed to the mountain to pray.” Mark 6:46. The disciples went down to the sea to take the boat west to Capernaum. “and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. And it had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.” John 6:17.

As they were crossing, the wind picked up significantly and caused the water to get rough.  As they continued, they saw Jesus on the sea. “When therefore they had rowed about three or four miles, they beheld Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened.” John 6:19. It is somewhat understandable they would be afraid, for in such rough waters they saw a man walking on these waves. Again, in the account by Mark, it gives a clearer reason for their fear. “But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were frightened.” Mark 6:49-50a. But Jesus calmed their fears. “But He said to them, It is I; do not be afraid.” John 6:20. And upon hearing Him, they were relieved. “They were willing therefore to receive Him into the boat; and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.” John 6:21.

The next day, the multitude that were at the feeding of the five thousand saw something they could not understand. “The next day the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other small boat there, except one, and that Jesus had not entered with His disciples into the boat, but that His disciples had gone away alone. There came other small boats from Tiberias near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. When the multitude therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the small boats, and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You get here?” John 6:22-25. It did not make sense that He could be over there, when He did not get in the only boat that had been there or with the disciples. 

But Jesus does not answer their question.  On the contrary, He questions their motives in looking for Him. “Jesus answered them and said, Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal.” John 6:26-27. He was referring here to Himself as the Bread of Life. “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, He gave them bread out of heaven to eat. Jesus therefore said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” John 6:31-33. And then culminates with “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35

There is a significant point here. Jesus showed the disciples, once again, that He was not an ordinary man but proved to the disciples that He was in command of all things, including the elements, which is something that God alone could do. He revealed this truth to the disciples who recognized His divinity and responded with a confession of faith in Jesus as God. Matthew records, “And when they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” Matthew 14:32-33. Interesting note, this was the first time Jesus was called the Son of God by the disciples or that they had worshipped Him. And this is what worship is, acknowledging who God is and praising Him both for who He is and for what He has done. It was in this story that the disciples took the first step and worshiped Jesus as the Son of God. And it was due to the sign of Him walking on the water to meet them.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

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