#7: JESUS WANTS TO ENABLE US
TO GET TO THE OTHER SIDE
(Matthew 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-51, John 6:16-21)
After Jesus miraculously fed thousands of people by multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish, he perceived that the crowd was about to come and take him by force to make him king. So he strongly urges his disciples to take their boat to the western side of the lake. Then he climbs a nearby mountain to pray.
On this beautiful evening, as his disciples board their boat to cross the lake toward Capernaum, the sun disappears below the edge of the sea. The image of the moon and surrounding clouds reflect in the clear lake. The evening mists gather. The wind stirs.
But the wind begins to blow too much. As Jesus’ disciples reach the middle of the lake, thunder rumbles above them and gales of wind blow and toss their boat. As the force of the wind increases, large, menacing waves rush towards them, threatening to drag their small fishing craft under the sea. It seems like the more they row, the more the winds push them backwards. Waves of water leap into their boat.
As Jesus prays, he sees the restless water below and he sees his disciples far out on the lake. Their small fishing boat is tossed back and forth as the troubled waves mount higher and higher. His disciples are rowing desperately against the roaring winds and waves and are gaining no headway. Immediately Jesus goes to help them. Stepping out on the stormy sea, he begins to walk upon the water, for “He . . . treads on the waves of the sea” (Job 9:8b, NIV).
About three in the morning, Jesus approaches his disciples, walking on the water. Through the darkness, mist, and howling wind, the disciples see something like a ghost or an apparition approaching. They are gripped with fear and shout with horror,
“What is that - a spirit?”
“Take courage! I AM; stop being afraid!” Jesus answers (Matthew 14:27b, AMP).
Peter yells, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
“Come!” Jesus responds.
Peter gets out of the boat and walks on the water. But he feels the fierce wind and he sees the waves thrashing as high as his head. He is struck with fear and begins to sink.
“Lord, save me!” he cries. The Personal Deliverer catches him and rescues him and asks him,
“Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31b)
Old Testament Promise Fulfilled:
(Given 1050 and 1520 B. C.)
“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and . . . He heard my voice. . .
He drew me out of many waters”
(Psalm 18:6, 16b, NKJV)
As soon as they get into the boat the wind ceases, as written:
Messianic Prophecy Fulfilled:
(Given 1050 B. C.)
“You rule over the surging sea;
when its waves mount up, you still them.”
“You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness . . .
Who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves”
(Psalm 89:9, 65:5a, 7a, NIV)
Those in the boat are astonished and they bow down to Him, declaring, “Truly you are the Son of God!” They are amazed at how Jesus always proves himself to be master of whatever confronts him. Then another miracle occurs as the boat is immediately transported to the shore on the other side of the lake! (John 6:21)
Comments: Jesus told his disciples what he wanted them to do – to get in their boat and go to the other side of the lake. They obey, but when they get half-way across, a violent storm threatens to not only stop them, but also to end their lives. All of us who have walked with the Lord for very long have experienced times when Jesus told us to do something and then as we began to do it, we were hit with circumstances which were not only disappointing, but seemed insurmountable. We, like the disciples, struggled to go forward, but were pushed backward. I can see the disciples rowing, giving it their all, and their boat not going forward, but being swept backward!
Jesus saw them. Jesus had gone up the mountain to pray and while he was praying, he saw them giving their all to obey what he had said to do, and making no progress. From the top of the mountain where he was, to the middle of the lake where they were, was about four miles. It is possible he saw them with his natural eyes, but I believe that as he prayed and interceded for them, he saw them in a vision.
Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. We won’t take the space here to discuss Peter walking on the water. I would like to focus next on how, as soon as Jesus got in the boat, the storm ceased. John 6:21b: “and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going”. Here is a miracle that John recorded that I think many people miss. As soon as the disciples received Jesus in their boat, they and their boat were transported 3½ miles – to the other side of the sea! Once Jesus moves miraculously to help us achieve his goals for us, very soon we find ourselves having made it to the destination to which he called us. And it doesn’t happen by our might or power, but by His Spirit. We, like Jesus’ disciples on that day, do our best and Jesus does the rest.
Note: much of this devotional is from The Life of Jesus Foretold, pages 136-138.