By Tyson Thorne

July 9, 2019

John 19 Large

Last week we spent some time examining Jesus' second greatest miracle, the feeding of the 5,000. In doing so, we covered John chapter six verses one through 15, and 22-65, but left out the very important passage of Jesus walking on the water. After the miracle which multiplied the fish and the loaves to feed thousands of people, Jesus told the disciples to take a boat to Capernaum. While they rowed, Jesus decided to walk it, just not in the usual manner. John leaves an awful lot of this story on the cutting room floor, but adds a fascinating aspect to the miracle.

The parallel passage is Mark 6.45-52. After sending th epeople away for the night, the disciples rowed across the lake, south to north, toward Capernaum. Jesus went up the rugged southern hillside to pray and from there could watch the progress of the disciples. When they were about half way across (3-4 miles out) Jesus went to them. Walking across the water he approached the boat and frightening the disciples. Mark records that they thought Jesus was an apparition, a ghost of some kind, until he identified himself.

NOTE: The Bible doesn't talk about "ghost's" (with one notable exception, 1 Samuel 28)). We know from the New Testament that when a person dies they are immediately ushered into a kind of holding location. The saints go to a place in heaven, the unrepentant reside in hell. But before such revelation was made, the Jewish people were like everyone else and speculated about disembodied human spirits, or "ghosts". In fact, the Talmud contains many stories about ghosts and other spiritual beings and hypothesizes that they are spirits from limbo who have been disturbed from their rest waiting for the coming kingdom. So the disciples' fears were very real, even if misplaced.

Mark tells us that once Jesus came aboard the storm disappated immediately. John adds an additional detail. Not only did the storm calm, but they found themselves docked on the beach at their destination! Somehow they were teleported the last 4 miles or so, which makes this the first of two teleportation incidents in the New Testament (Acts 8).

When the crowd that had been fed the night before came to the shore looking for Jesus they were confused. They knew he did not go with the disciples the night before, so where did he go and how did he get there? They found him in Capernaum, full of questiona about when and how he had arrived there. Why is this important? Jesus doesn't answer these questions. The miracle was for the disciples alone. He performed these three acts, walking on water, calming a storm, and instant transport to their destination, so that the disciples would understand his authority over all earthly physics. Only the 12 knew of this event, until they wrote about it for the rest of us. Feel good about being one of those trusted with this truth.

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