God among Us!
Lord, every day is an exciting encounter with You.
Read John 6:16–24
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 about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 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.
22 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. 23 Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“We must first make up our minds about Christ before coming to conclusions about the miracles attributed to him” (F.F. Bruce, 1910–1990).
To the skeptics Jesus’ healing miracles are easier to accept than so-called “nature miracles” like feeding the crowds and walking on water. Simple recovery from illness may allow for healing anomalies, but walking on water offends rational minds! Indeed, some explain that Jesus is actually on the seashore rather than the sea. Of course, that makes more logical sense—just as an explanation that the boy’s gift of loaves and fishes (6:9) unlocked people’s selfishness with their own picnics logically explains the miracle feeding.
How we respond to miracles reveals our doctrine of Christ. Regard him only
as a significant religious figure, and such miracles seem fictional, purporting to make him larger than life. Worship him as the Word made flesh and you know that he is larger than life! The incarnation pushes us into the
unknown. Who can tell what will happen when God is among us or how it even came about? Nature miracles are rare in the Gospel record, but when they happen, they lift the curtain on the glory behind them—“We beheld his glory” (John 1:14, AV).
As with the feeding miracle, the Passover story may lie in the background,
with its focus on God rescuing his people through the sea. Neither the disciples nor the crowd know where Jesus has gone. Perhaps hoping that he
will join them later as they embark (17), the disciples set off without him.
Later they experience this terrifying encounter when, walking across rough
waters, Jesus joins them. Mark records that they thought he was a ghost (Mark 6:49), which is an understandable reaction. This burst of divine action shocks them to the core. Note that Jesus’ words of assurance “Don’t
be afraid” are about recognizing who he is rather than coping with the storm. Encountering Jesus can be wonderful and yet uncomfortable. “God raises the level of the impossible!” (Corrie ten Boom, 1892–1983).
Picture Jesus walking out of howling wind and rough waves towards you and saying, “It is I: don’t be afraid.” Can you relate this to occasions in your life?
Lord, when the winds of trouble find me, allow me to see You on the waves approaching me and telling me not to fear.