Jesus Walks on Water
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Jesus Walks on Water
One of my favorite Bible stories is the account of Jesus walking on water. And that is what our Bible lesson is today. I want to tell you the story, even though it may already be familiar to you. It was just after the five thousand had been fed. Jesus sent His disciples away, aboard a ship, to the other side of the lake; the Sea of Galilee. He sent them 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. 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)
Jesus knew that the crowd wanted to make Him their king because they believed that He was the Messiah. They were even considering kidnapping Him and taking Him to Jerusalem. They wanted a Messiah that would be a conqueror, and assume political leadership, and release them from the yoke of Roman rule. Jesus understood the situation, so He slipped away to the mountains. He went up into a mountain to pray. The scriptures reveal that when He prayed, He prayed alone, and He prayed often and for a long time. That should be an example for us; we need to find a secret place of prayer.
In the meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble at sea, but it was only a small sample of the hardships that lay ahead for them. In the future, when they went out to preach the Gospel, they were met with hostility and persecution. But it is comforting to all of Christ’s disciples, that when we are in a storm, that the Master is in Heaven, interceding for us.
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 fourth 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 fourth watch; sometime between three o’clock and six o’clock A.M., and they saw Jesus walking to them; walking on the water. He had seen their desperate situation, 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 supreme control over all nature; the water is under His feet and at His command, and 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.
When Christ came to rescue them, He needed only to speak to the wind and the waves, as He had done before, but He chose to save them in the most gracious way He could; He came Himself. But He calmed their fears by letting them know that it was Him.
The knowledge that Christ is near us, is enough to drive away the fear from any disciple of Christ.
He came walking on the water. And now, we can see Peter’s great love for Christ; because he desired to go to Him. When He saw Christ, 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 to go to Him, no matter how he has to do it.
Here you can see Peter’s faith and determination, because he stepped out on the water when Christ said, “Come.” 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 three things: first, Peter’s cowardice; second, Christ scolds him, and third, Christ 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 would 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.”
Listen. Christ is the great Savior. He came to save. Those that want to be saved, must not only come to Him but must ask Him for salvation. But most people don’t come to Him until they are in a situation like this, where they find themselves sinking; a sense of need will drive us to Him.
Jesus saved him; He saved him with the saving strength of His right hand. Christ’s hand is still stretched out to all believers to keep them from sinking, “for they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of His hand.” (Jn. 10:28)
Never fear, He will hold on to His own. Now notice that He scolded Peter for his lack of faith. Peter had enough faith to bring him out on the water but not enough to carry him through. Christ called his faith, “little.”
When Christ came into the ship, Peter came with Him, and very shortly they found themselves at the shore. When Jesus stepped into the ship the storm ceased. He didn’t say a word, so this is different from His previous encounter with nature, where He spoke to the elements, “Peace, be still.”
The storm had ceased, and the sea was peaceful. Listen. Welcome Christ and the storms in your life will be quieted. The way to know peace is to know that He is God; that He is the Lord with us.
They were surprised and astonished by this miracle. They evidentially did not give enough weight to the previous miracles that they had seen. The feeding of the five thousand was great evidence of His amazing power, and if they would have given that the proper consideration, they would not have been so overwhelmed by what He did here.
But it did confirm their faith; that He was the Son of God. They worshiped Him and said, “It is true, you are the Son of God.” What they had seen was evidence for their faith. They knew before, that He was the Son of God, but now they knew it better.
What a great example of Christ’s power and compassion is on display here. He is still the same today-He loves us and wants to save us.