Jesus’ Life and Ministry
A Desired Superhuman Ruler
WHEN Jesus miraculously feeds the thousands, the people are amazed. “This is for a certainty the prophet that was to come into the world,” they say. They conclude not only that Jesus must be that prophet greater than Moses but also that he would make a most desirable ruler. So they plan to seize him and make him king.
Jesus, however, is aware of what they are planning. So he quickly moves to avoid being forcibly drafted by them. He dismisses the crowds, compels his disciples to get in their boat and head back toward Capernaum, and then withdraws into the mountain to pray. That night Jesus is there all alone.
Shortly before dawn Jesus looks out from his elevated vantage point and observes waves being whipped up on the sea by a strong wind. In the light of the almost full moon, since it is near Passover, Jesus sees the boat with his disciples struggling to make headway against the waves. The men are rowing with all their might.
At seeing this, Jesus descends from the mountain and begins walking toward the boat across the waves. Covering a distance of about three or four miles, he reaches his disciples. However, he continues on as though he is going to pass them by. When they see him, they cry: “It is an apparition!”
Jesus comfortingly responds: “It is I; have no fear.”
But Peter says: “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you over the waters.”
“Come!” Jesus answers.
Thereupon, Peter, getting out of the boat, walks over the waters toward Jesus. But looking at the windstorm, Peter becomes afraid, and starting to sink, he cries: “Lord, save me!”
Immediately stretching out his hand, Jesus catches him, saying: “You with little faith, why did you give way to doubt?”
After Peter and Jesus get back into the boat, the wind stops, and the disciples are amazed. But should they be? If they had grasped “the meaning of the loaves” by appreciating the great miracle Jesus performed a few hours earlier of feeding thousands with only five loaves and two little fishes, then it should not have seemed so amazing that he could walk on water and cause the wind to abate. Now, however, the disciples do obeisance to Jesus and say: “You are really God’s Son.”
In a short time they reach Gennesaret, a beautiful, fruitful plain near Capernaum. There they anchor the boat. But when they go ashore, people recognize Jesus and go into the surrounding country, finding those who are sick. When these are brought on their cots and just touch the fringe of Jesus’ outer garment, they are made completely well.
The next day the crowd that witnessed the miraculous feeding of the thousands discover that Jesus has left. So when little boats from Tiberias arrive, they board these and sail to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they find him, they ask: “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus’ answer will be quite revealing. John 6:14-25; Matthew 14:22-36; Mark 6:45-56.
◆ After Jesus miraculously fed the thousands, what do the people want to do to him?
◆ What does Jesus see from the mountain to which he has withdrawn, and what does he then do?
◆ Why should the disciples not be so amazed by these things?
◆ What happens after they reach the shore?
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