So I was doing some studying on John, in preparation for teaching the book on Wednesday nights (starting January of next year, Lord willing) and I noticed something when I was reading about the miracle of Jesus walking on the water.
First of all, here is the relevant text:
And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.
And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.
So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.
But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid.
Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.
This event is one of the most famous in all of Jesus’ ministry. Even though who know very little about Jesus are familiar with “that time He walked on water.” But when you actually examine the text, you find that the “walking on water” miracle is only one of several that occur in this moment in time.
One thing that John does not mention (but other Gospel writers do, such as in Matthew 14:28-31) is that Peter, upon seeing the Lord, called out to Him asking to join Him on the water. He did and then began to sink, only to be rescued by Jesus.
After that, Jesus entered the vessel with the other disciples.
What John writes next is very interesting. He says that “immediately the ship was at the land” where they had intended to go. Though the storm had trapped them halfway across the Sea, as soon as Jesus entered the boat the ship was instantly on the shore.
Thus there are three individual miracles done by Jesus (not counting Peter walking on water) all rolled into one event here:
First Jesus walked on water, demonstrating His power of that which He created.
Second, Jesus calmed the storm that raged against the boat (John doesn’t actually say this, but the other accounts of this event do—Mark 6:51), demonstrating His power over nature.
Third, Jesus instantly brought the ship off the sea and back to the shore, demonstrating His power over the space-time continuum itself!
We often simplify this event as “Jesus walked on water.” And while that’s an amazing thing, it was really just a means to an end. He walked on water in order to enter the ship, calm the storm and bring the disciples back to land.
The lesson to learn from this miracle is not “Wow Jesus can do amazing things!” The lesson to learn here is “Wow, when Jesus sees me in trouble, He will come to comfort me.” Even if you’re separated by an entire Sea, Jesus will make His way to you…even if He has to literally walk on the water to get to you.
THAT’S the lesson, and what an encouraging one it is!