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Consider the way the natural world yields to Jesus’ supernatural power. Creation exists to glorify its Creator (Psalm 148:7–10). How can you do that today?


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Bible passage John 6:16–24


Jesus Walks on the Water
 16When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17where 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. 18A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. 20But he said to them, "It is I; don't be afraid." 21Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

 22The 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. 23Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24Once 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) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


Explore the Bible


More than Moses
The miracle-eaters, thinking Jesus was a prophet like Moses (who they believed miraculously fed their ancestors in the desert), ironically plot to offer a paltry human kingdom to the eternal King of kings (vs 14,15)! Meanwhile, Jesus sends his crew ahead by boat while he retreats from the crowd.

As they were already far ahead of him on the lake, how else could he catch up but miraculously (v 19)? Once more, Jesus shows that he is far more than a Moses, he’s God’s Son, ‘the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being’ (Hebrews 1:3).

Loving power
Jesus’ tender care for us is served by his power. Matthew and Mark record that Jesus went out on the water because he saw the disciples in trouble. That’s the kind of God we have. Fathomless depths can’t stop him expressing his love for us (Song of Solomon 8:7).

Fear is a natural response to the unfamiliar (v 19). Experiencing Jesus’ care helps us trust that even through alarming displays of supernatural power he intends to bless us. If we let him fully on board we will find that we start to travel with a new pace and purpose (v 21).


Respond


What are the deep waters threatening to swallow your confidence in God? In your mind, see Jesus walking steadily over the waters towards you through the wind and rain. Welcome him aboard and receive his peace.

Phil Andrews


Deeper Bible study


‘We must first make up our minds about Christ before coming to conclusions about the miracles attributed to him.’1

To sceptics, Jesus’ healing miracles are easier to accept than so-called ‘nature miracles’ like feeding the crowds and walking on water. Recovery from illness allows for healing anomalies, but walking on water offends rational minds! Indeed, some explain that Jesus is on the seashore rather than the sea. Of course, that makes more sense – as with the explanation that the boy’s gift of loaves and fishes (6:9) unlocked people’s selfishness with their own picnics.

How we respond to nature miracles reveals our doctrine of Christ. Regard him only as a significant religious figure and such miracles seem fiction created 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 happens when God is among us? Nature miracles are rare in the Gospel record but when they happen they lift the curtain on the glory – ‘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 (v 17), they set off without him. Later they experience this terrifying encounter when, walkingacross rough waters, Jesus joins them. Mark records they thought he was a ghost (Mark 6:49)! That’s an understandable reaction! The disciples witness another burst of divine action that shocks them to the core. Note that Jesus’ words of assurance ‘Don’t be afraid’ are about recognising who he is rather than coping with the storm. Encountering Jesus can be wonderful and uncomfortable. ‘God raises the level of the impossible’!2

Michael Quicke

 

1 FF Bruce in Living Quotations for Christians, Hodder, 1974
2 Corrie ten Boom in Living Quotations for Christians


Background: The Sea of Galilee


Geography
The Sea of Galilee or Lake Galilee lies in the north of Israel. It is about 21 kilometres long and about 11 kilometres wide. It lies 211 metres below sea level.

On the west and the east are mountains; they rise abruptly on the east towards the Golan Heights but there is a small coastal plain on the west where the mountains are less steep.

The river Jordan flows in on the north and out on the south, the valley being broader in the south than the north.

Location
The nature of the lake and its position in the rift valley of the Jordan makes it liable to down draughts and sudden violent storms. Although not large – one can easily see one side from the other – these storms presented a challenge to those in the small boats of Jesus’ time.

In Jesus’ time the lake was surrounded by small towns. Many of these were fishing centres for the lake was a rich source of fish and its fisheries were famous throughout the Roman Empire.

Jesus spent a lot of time in the towns around the lake and made his base in Capernaum (Matthew 4:12,13). There was considerable trade between these towns. Only Tiberias remains as a thriving community today. There are extensive remains at Capernaum.

John Grayston

Bible in a year


Read the Bible in a year.

2 Samuel 15,16

1 Corinthians 7
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God of the miraculous


Does the supernatural side of Jesus’ nature ever alarm you? If so, you’re in good company – the disciples were continually shocked when Jesus, who was all human, revealed that he was also all God.

Perhaps we’d be unfeeling if the intrusion of the miraculous into ordinary life didn’t challenge us a little… Reflect on this as you look at Andrew Gray’s artistic response to Jesus walking on the water.

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  • Song: Sabbath Song
  • Composer: Phil Andrews © 2009
  • Performer: Alastair and Abigail Wood


Speak O Lord
Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.kingswayshop.com




Comments
  • Rachael Hampton | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    They left without Him? Huh? Their leader, teacher, Rabbi? Perhaps He had told them to. Perhaps they thought He would catch them up next day in another boat, though v17 sounds as though they were expecting Him. Puzzling. However, we see again the immense power residing within Him - but seldom used for Himself. He didn't need people to make Him King. If that had been the Father's way Jesus could have called on legions of eager angels and dealt with the Romans in a flash. Now we see Him discerning in the dark just where the struggling boat was, and unleashing the supernatural power within Him to get to where He needed to be, declaring to His frightened friends, 'The great I AM is here! You don't need to be afraid.' I know that truth, and Phil Andrews beautiful words in Explore, will bless and encourage many hearts today as we put ourselves under the protection of that powerful love, and pray for each other, and our suffering world.

  • Rachael Hampton | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    Thank you all for the sharing, insights and encouragement. This community is such a blessing to me. GILVIN I like 100x0=0. Lord, we bring what we have for you to use today. And now Elizabeth has a beach hut to bring! Praising God and rejoicing with you Elizabeth. Jane, so glad to know you are doing OK and have good support. David, sometimes the crazy predictive text delivers a truth worth having. As we weep and intercede for the suffering we pray for God's intervention, but the typo reminds us that Jesus Himself is interceding for us and them also.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Friday, 12 May 2017

    It is interesting to notice that Jesus didn’t rebuke the wind and the water in this case, as He had done before. He still overcame the problem, but He did it in a different way. It's easier said than done, but we need to always be sensitive to the Lord and follow His instructions.

  • Elizabeth Sadler | Friday, 12 May 2017

    Thank you HILARY,RACHAEL and others for all your encouragement. HILARY,I am reading a book called "Pray Big",and along with the author I agree that there are no such things as small or insignificant prayers,because God is concerned with ALL our needs. The book took me to the story of Elisha and the axe head in 2 KIngs 6.An axe head is lost in the river ;Elisha drops a stick in the water and it floats to the surface. Just 7 verses in the OT ,but it meant a lot to the young man who lost the axe head.No prayer is too insignificant to merit God's attention.

  • Frank Collins | Friday, 12 May 2017

    ELIZABETH what a beautiful testimony from you yesterday. I pray you will have many hours of blessing there. Like others , I read the readings and testimonies etc with tears in my eyes this morning. Dear WL , please pray for my daughter who is struggling with health issues but is determined to continue her season of 12 marathon races to fund raise for her charity work with alcoholics and families in Romania. It was her son who continues to have school difficulties after leaving junior school in 2015. Thanks everyone. Peace be with you today.

  • Adam Julians | Friday, 12 May 2017

    "They were terrified" (v19b) " offends rational minds" (Deeper) and "the disciples were continually shocked" (God of the miraculous). Not quite the "gentle Jesus meek and mild". Unless we take the Greek words where we get "gentle" and "meek" from. There is an account of a Greek soldier writing to his sweetheart about how "meek" his war horse was in battle. Therefore sometimes "meek" means powerful, forceful and responsive to direction. So what had Jesus done? He had withdrawn because the people wanted to take the kingdom by force. But Jesus at times was forceful, offensive, shocking, terrifying, at least that was how it felt to be in his presence at times. As he said, anyone who holds onto their lives will lose it and anyone who loses their lives because of him will gain life. It's no fool that give up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.

  • Roger Hall | Friday, 12 May 2017

    With Jesus in the boat, suddenly, they were on the other side! Wow! That speaks to me today.

  • Angela Munday | Friday, 12 May 2017

    What a wonderful God we all have! Hallelujah! Our Lord says "It is I; don't be afraid" and we recognise His voice in our noisy world. We have all been saved from death to bring glory to Our Lord and to forever sing His praises. He provides; He protects and proclaims His love for us. Have a joyful day as we celebrate with Christians around the world; JESUS IS LORD.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Friday, 12 May 2017

    Yes ROGER. It’s strange that only John recorded the ship being transported to the other side. This was as great a miracle as Jesus walking on the water. Jesus, His twelve disciples, and a small ship were instantly transported approximately two miles across the sea to the shore (compare with Acts 8:39-40).

  • David Forbes | Friday, 12 May 2017

    it's great to encourage each other through reading God's word.we can never get enough encouragement. we really don't deserve anything but praise be to God he speaks to us through his infallible word ...morning by morning great mercies we see. not sure if if was my predictive text Rachel. we find it hard to summarise and express our love for God. thankfully predictive erred on the right side on this occasion. im poor at editing own comments. Tend to just write and send 😊

  • Derek Forster | Friday, 12 May 2017

    I sing the almighty power of God, That made the mountains rise, That spread the flowing seas abroad, And built the lofty skies. I sing the wisdom that ordained The sun to rule the day; The moon shines full at His command, And all the stars obey. I sing the goodness of the Lord, That filled the earth with food; He formed the creatures with His Word, And then pronounced them good. Lord! how Your wonders are displayed Where’er I turn my eye! If I survey the ground I tread, Or gaze upon the sky!

  • Roger Hall | Friday, 12 May 2017

    Gilvin, the reason why it struck me was in connection with the work on Sunday morning, when the C of E lectionary gives me the wonderful words of John 14 to speak about. Every since my Dad died peacefully in bed, and the mortuary porter said that he had a smile on his face, as if he had met an old and much loved friend, that I realised that Jesus had done what He said He would! He also said that He would be with us always. It would be strange, therefore if He said " right, I'll leave you now so I can pop home and get ready to meet you!" So, why the thought about the amazing speed boat of Galilee? Thinking about an unpleasant visit to the dentist, I realised that it would soon be over, and everything goes on just as before. There are times in our lives which we know will be unpleasant, will I panic of posting else you know what I mean, and suddenly, I'm getting out we the chair, it's pouring with rain, and I'm Cheerful. I hope this makes sense? Praise and Glorify Him for ever.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Friday, 12 May 2017

    God moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform ROGER. Blessings

  • Jane Hill | Friday, 12 May 2017

    Roger, Gilvin: I, too, noticed for the first time that the boat was immediately at the destination. What also struck me was that a lot of things happened to Jesus/ the disciples at night and how gruelling this life of travelling around and preaching must have been. And this went on for 3 years! I have a big scan tomorrow which involves lying still for a long time - very difficult - I would value prayers.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Friday, 12 May 2017

    Yes JANE. Go with some bible truths to meditate on whilst lying still and be blessed

  • Roger Hall | Friday, 12 May 2017

    Jane, 40 years ago, I attended the ante natal clinic at the Birmingham maternity hospital. I took seriously the deep breathing exercises, and whenever having nasty things like the ...oscopy this helped me fall asleep! That and favorite verses help no end! MRI the noises and bangs become interesting! Soon over.

  • Teresa Ballard | Friday, 12 May 2017

    JANE - praying your time under the scanner will be a time when our Lord is clearly present. A good opportunity to 'Be still, and know I am God'. I'm sure our prayers and your time 'being still' will speed you to the other side before you know it! ELIZABETH - love the blessing that is your beach hut and praying it will be the venue for many happy hours spent in fellowship with others. I have lovely memories of spending time with other young Christian friends during breaks from college/uni deepening my knowledge of the Lord and learning the value of supporting each other through fellowship. FRANK - praying for your daughter and grandson, and you as you continue to support them both. Thank you everyone for your comments, as ever. The Lord be with you in whatever choppy seas you are currently experiencing; 'Do not be afraid.'

  • David Chipchase | Friday, 12 May 2017

    JANE, I use these scans as a chance to chat with God. I don't get/make enough time to chat to my Father in heaven and in the MRI with me so this is a heaven sent opportunity if I can stay awake! FRANK, you have asked for prayers for your daughter previously but I haven't entered the info in my prayer diary. Would you please give me some more info, especially names, to help my prayers?

  • David Chipchase | Friday, 12 May 2017

    Miracles, yes; "nature miracles", dunno. For me a nature miracle is a miracle where God uses the forces of nature to cause the miracle eg the parting of the Reed Sea or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. ELIZABETH, as a former physics/chemistry teacher, Elisha's raising of the axe head is a miracle that does my head in; it goes against my scientific knowledge. It certainly keeps me humble!

  • Eileen Smith | Friday, 12 May 2017

    FRANK have been praying for your grandson & will add your daughter to my prayers. Re her health

  • Hilary Dale | Friday, 12 May 2017

    Thankyou for the account of the axe head, Elizabeth! Never noticed it before! I will try and get hold of a copy of Pray Big, too! I like your phrase "miracle that does my head in", David! May we see many of those! our God is even more amazing than science! Will pray for you for your scan tomorrow, Jane.

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