Look, Listen, Leap
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,[a] 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.
Jesus walking on the water, which we also read in Matthew and Mark’s gospels, gives us a couple quick things to think about…
Look…this took place after the feeding of the 5000 (more like 10,000+) and so no doubt the disciples were already exhausted and yet, Jesus sent them out to sea. They were battling exhaustion before they even stepped into the boat and now, bone tired, they set out to reach the other side. They went with Jesus to the countryside intending to rest and instead, found themselves dealing with thousands of people throughout the day, and now, rowing across the lake.
The last time they were in a boat and encountered a storm, Jesus was in the boat with them. Not this time. The disciples thought they were left to fend for themselves through the storm. I think Jesus had other plans.
Listen…not only did Jesus walk on the water, he walked a considerable distance through raging seas to get to them. The disciples were terrified and then, over the howling wind and crashing waves, the voice of Jesus calls out to them. Jesus is louder than the storm.
Leap…something we don’t read about in John’s account but we do in Matthew’s, Peter gets out of the boat. As Jesus is standing on the water amongst the waves, Peter asks to come to him. Peter would rather be near to Jesus, standing in the waves than stay in the boat! Peter had the faith to ask to get out of the boat, but only got out after Jesus told him to.
Jesus didn’t prevent the storm, he helped them weather it.