Jesus Walks on the Water
45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
47 When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.
Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
53 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.
v47 When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land.
Jesus sent the disciples across the Sea of Galilee (Mark 6:45). As Jesus prayed in the heights above the Sea of Galilee, He saw them straining at the rowing as they attempted to cross the lake in the face of the wind. Unknown to the disciples, Jesus saw their difficulty and cared for them.
i. It was difficult to get across because a great wind was blowing (John 6:18). They had rowed for much of the night had had only come about halfway across the lake (John 6:19).
ii. “The apostolic crew rowed, and rowed, and rowed, and it was no fault of theirs that they made no progress, ‘for the wind was contrary unto them.’ The Christian man may make little or no headway, and yet it may be no fault of his, for the wind is contrary. Our good Lord will take the will for the deed, and reckon our progress, not by our apparent advance, but by the hearty intent with which we tug at the oars.” (Spurgeon)
iii. “Shortly before dawn” is somewhere around 3 a.m.
v51 Then he climbed into the boat with them,
As Jesus got into the boat with them, miraculously the boat was instantly carried over to the other side (John 6:21). Jesus rescued His disciples from working in futility. This was a miracle meant to assure them that He was in fact in control, and that He would always lovingly be there to help them fulfill what He commanded.
i. We also know that it was on this occasion that Peter got out of the boat, walking on the water to Jesus (Matthew 14:28-31). There is reason – from history and subtle clues, not explicitly from the Scriptures – to believe that Peter was the main source for Mark’s gospel. If this was the case, Peter may have left out the story because he didn’t want to be exalted for walking on the water – or to be humbled for sinking! It’s easy to criticize Peter for sinking, but have you ever gotten out of the boat yourself?
v53 – Gennesaret – Gennesaret was a small fertile plain located on the west side of the Sea of Gallilee.