Sometimes those who have the most reasons to believe can also have the most doubt.
It’s ironic, but sometimes we Christians harbor far more doubts and fear than we should. We know the newness of life in Jesus. We know the deliverance He gives—and has given to us. We know how He works.
But then the storm hits and the turmoil of the moment pushes all of that out of our mind and heart. The storm is raging and now we’ve got to get through it.
Jesus had just fed thousands of people with the lunch of a single boy (John 6:1-15). He taught them, fed them, and in John 6:16-21, we see what happens next.
When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 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. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.John 6:16-21
New International Version
Sitting 600 feet below sea level, the Sea of Galilee was prone to violent storms. Winds coming through the mountains off the Mediterranean Sea created a wind-tunnel effect. The lake gets whipped up into quite a frenzy and early spring is prime time for these storms. This is exactly what happened in our text today.
Now some of these guys—our human author included—were seasoned fisherman on these waters, but this weather condition of strong wind and rough water was cause for concern. If the experienced fishermen were alarmed, how did the land-dwellers react?
Then something worse happened.
Through the darkness of night, occasionally highlighted by streaks of lightening, something was coming towards them on the water. As they wiped the rain from their eyes—barely able to see from the wind in their faces—they made out a figure walking across the water.
Squinting and straining they recognized the figure in a flash of lightning. It was Jesus. It was Jesus! Walking…on…the…water! They weren’t afraid because it was Jesus the man.
They were afraid because the Divinity of Jesus—normally veiled by His humanity—was coming out and they knew He was more than a man.
Then Jesus makes a powerful self-identifying statement, obscured in our English translations, in verse 20: “But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”
Wanna know what He literally said—what they heard? He said, “I AM. Don’t fear”. “I Am” as in the One who appeared in the burning bush to Moses and gave His name. This was God in the flesh and He once again identified Himself as such. They knew it was Jesus the man, but now they were understanding this was Jesus, the Son of God.
With Jesus providing this evidence of His divine origin, they eagerly allowed Him into the boat. “If He can walk on water,” they must’ve thought, “He can get us through this terrible storm!” Right they were. Look at verse 21: “Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.”
The boat wasn’t meandering on the shoreline when Jesus got on board—they were three or four miles out. They were in the middle of the lake and when Jesus gets on board, they “immediately…reached shore where they were heading.” Once again, the Lord brought His people through the troubled waters of a stormy sea into safety.
And this sign was one for the Twelve. These men—the seed of the church as we know it—witnessed this sign pointing undoubtedly to Jesus as the Son of God. They had seen the Lord’s power over matter. Now they see His power over nature by walking on the water and over physics by supernaturally getting them to the shoreline.
Our lives can sometimes feel like that: stretched and beaten by the storm. Then Jesus shows up saying, “It’s me…the Lord. Don’t be afraid.” All the while, the storm is raging all around us. When we let Him in, we’re “home free” as it were. Not a life of ease and free of difficulties, but a promise to get us through the darkness, violence, and storm.
Sometimes the Lord does calm the storm. More often than not, however, He calms us.
Are you letting Him into your boat allowing Him to calm you?