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©Bonnie LaBelle

Chapter 6:16-24 (ESV)

Posted on August 04, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 6:16-24 (ESV) - When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.

Question to consider: Why does God let us face difficult times like the disciples faced on the sea?

Yesterday we learned from John that Jesus sent the disciples away to avoid a situation where the crowds were going to try and force Jesus to go to Jerusalem and be king. The disciples went back in the boat and set sail back to Capernaum while Jesus went back up on the mountain by Himself to pray.

While Jesus prayed, the disciples came upon a squall on their journey and were fighting against the wind all night long. I can’t even imagine how exhausted they must have been having to minister to the crowds all day and then to fight against the wind all night only to gain about three or four miles.

After Jesus was done praying, He came to meet them on the boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee! Matthew gave more details about this encounter in his gospel account. They initially thought He was a ghost, and when He assured them it was Him, Peter asked for Jesus to prove it by calling him out onto the water with Him. Once Jesus rescued Peter who lost sight of Jesus and began to sink, the disciples were glad to take Him into the boat, and they immediately and miraculously landed in Capernaum.

If I were able to ask Jesus one question and get a direct answer, it would be: What did You pray on the mountain? Did He pray through His grief of the murder of John the Baptist? Did He pray for the disciples to remain with Him over the course of the coming encounters with this crowd who wanted to make Him king? While it may have been difficult for the disciples to face a squall in the midst of their exhaustion, having Christ meet them on the waters and safely bring them to the shore had to strengthen them for what they would face next. If we were to draw an application from this, it would be that Christ does not keep us from facing difficult times but meets us in the midst of them and safely brings us to the other side.

Since only one boat left Bethsaida, the crowds from Tiberius stuck around the region thinking that Jesus had stayed behind. In fact more crowds showed up at this point looking for Him as well. They finally figured out that Jesus wasn’t there and so went to find them in Capernaum. Tiberius and Capernaum were the two population centers in the region so if those on the boat from Tiberius didn’t see Peter’s boat at the dock or encounter them on the way, they probably assumed that Jesus went back to the place where He did most of His ministry.

We’ll find out tomorrow why they wanted to see Jesus.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for coming to us in the quiet moments of prayer. Help keep us from seeking the favor of the crowds or desiring personal glory. We look forward to the day when Jesus comes in glory to judge the living and the dead. In the meantime, please help us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow You. Amen.