Scripture

The Gospel of John – Walk on Water

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This is the by far one my favourite signs and wonders Jesus performs. In this part of John’s account of the Gospel, Jesus walks on water, we’ll get to the details in a bit. There are similar accounts of this story in the Gospel of Matthew 14:22-33 and Mark 6: 45-52, but it is only in the book of Matthew that we learn that Peter also walked on the water. It is this particular part of the story that I love so much! Keep reading to find out why.

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Jesus Walks on the Water

16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 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. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. 23 Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. John 6: 16-24

Obedience can lead us into a storm

Obedience to God does not always lead to blessing and favour. This part of the story is one such example. Jesus sends His disciples away from the crowd for a few reasons. We see in John 6:15 that the crowd is willing to use force to make Jesus king. To involve the disciples in political unrest would put them in a difficult situation with the Roman Empire. Also, we could consider that Jesus doesn’t want the disciples to let the crowd’s admiration feed their egos. Christ’s miracles are always attached to a Spiritual lesson, feed the 5000, is no different. Removing His disciples from this situation solves all three of these problems at the same time.

The disciples are sailing to the other side of the Sea of Galilee specifically in obedience to Jesus instructions. Jesus told them to get into a boat and head across the water. As we’ll see later, their obedience leads them directly into a storm on the sea.

If God calls you to His will, and you obey, you will face backlash from this fallen world!

But, the good thing is Jesus is watching them from the shore, during their struggle with the storm (Mark 6:47). John 6:17 states that Jesus “had not yet joined them” out on the water. Even while the men were afraid about their situation, they were under His watchful eyes.

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There is purpose in our trials. Rest assured – God is watching us always!

Jesus will come

At the time of day described here, the disciples are in the middle of a mess: a rough, stormy sea long before sunrise. At this point, Jesus walks out on to the water. Their fear is of the storm, but also that they first assume Jesus is a ghost. Jesus’ intervention here happens in an unexpected way. In the same way, in our lives, God intervenes in ways we do not expect – at first this may frighten us, but it will always be for our good. We can trust Jesus will come to rescue us.

This is the part of the story I love the most. Jesus is miraculously walking on the water. Jesus says to them: ” 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid” (John 6:20). Although the Gospel of John does not include this next part, it is found in Matthew’s account. Peter (being the forward and bold one of the group), says to Jesus: 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water” (Matthew 14:28). Peter gets out the boat and also walks on the water, the same as Jesus does. But something goes terribly wrong – instead of keeping his focus on Jesus, he becomes aware of the storm and shifts his attention to the storm. What happens? Peter begins to sink. Why did he sink? He lost faith! But, Jesus was there, ready and waiting to catch Peter before he sank.

You might feel you are sinking in your circumstances. Trust Jesus will show up. At exactly the right time!

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Look to Jesus

  1. Look for Jesus and keep looking to Jesus. Although a storm surrounds us, we must look to Jesus. The problem is when we stop looking at Jesus. The principle is clear: especially when life is a tumultuous storm, look for Jesus and keep looking to Jesus.
  2. When Jesus commands you, obey Him. Jesus told Peter to “come” to Him on the water. Even though it made no sense, Peter did what Jesus said. This is what obedience looks like–doing what Jesus says.
  3. Faith is simply taking the next step. Peter took one step to get out of the boat and onto the water. Peter was doing just fine when he was focused on the next step and got into trouble when he lost sight of his next step. 
  4. Faith unleashes the supernatural. Peter did not experience the supernatural power of God that allowed him to walk on water until he trusted as evidenced by his actions.
  5. Fear will sink you. When Peter had faith, he walked on water. When he had fear, he sank in the water. The same is true for us. Fear will sink us.
  6. Jesus saves you from many things. Jesus not only saved Peter from hell but on this occasion, Jesus saved Peter from drowning.
  7. A little faith is better than no faith. The Lord Jesus spoke of Peter’s “little faith”. This means that he was capable of even greater sustained faith.
  8. You can choose to worry or worship. In an instant, the men went from worrying about their circumstances to worshipping their Christ.
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The Gospel of John – Supernatural Overflow

Advertisements This is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospel accounts (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15), which shows it is very significant to Jesus’ mission and so we won’t forget how much the Lord can do with the little things that are given to Him. The feeding of the 5 000Continue reading →

The Gospel of John – Testimonies about Jesus

Advertisements Jesus continues his response to His critics in Jerusalem. Up to now, Jesus has healed a crippled man on the Sabbath and He has claimed to be equal with God in works, love, judgment and honour. Now, Jesus speaks about the evidence to His claims. Jesus does not just say: “Have faith” or “believeContinue reading →

The Gospel of John – The Authority of the Son

Advertisements Jesus’ intentionality Christ’s authority- Jesus chose often to perform miracles or other works on the Sabbath. We must remember that Jesus was, and still is, intentional in everything He did and He follows His Father’s instructions. A likely explanation is that Jesus is deliberately provoking the Pharisees by confronting them with their own hypocrisy.Continue reading →

Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in The Gospel of John, 3 comments

The Gospel of John – Supernatural Overflow

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This is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospel accounts (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15), which shows it is very significant to Jesus’ mission and so we won’t forget how much the Lord can do with the little things that are given to Him. The feeding of the 5 000 comes before Jesus’ discussion on being the living Bread that comes down out of heaven, supernatural overflow, to give His life for the world (John 6:32-58). It is reasonable to conclude that this miracle points to our salvation.

Follow this series on the Gospel of John here:

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Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. John 6: 1-15

Jesus is the son of God

John’s account of the Gospel is focused around providing evidence that Jesus truly is the Son of God. To do this, he focuses on particular miracles, which he refers to as signs. These miracles and events are meant to send a particular message or to evoke a certain response. According to the second verse “and a great crowd of people followed him”, Jesus’ ministry is gaining a significant public following. Unfortunately, this following is not because the people are seeking truth, but rather they want the excitement of what they’ve seen and heard Jesus do. Jesus is yet to announce the reason for His ministry.

The physical vs supernatural

The next miracle Jesus performs is His most public and most well-received miracle as he feeds thousands with a small basket five loaves of bread and two fish. The people who see this miracle, for the most part, miss the message behind this miracle. Jesus is seen performing this miracle and providing for the physical hunger needs of the crowd; but the deeper message, which we learn later on, is that Jesus is the bread of life, meaning He is essential for life and for eternal life. Jesus is trying to get the Jews’ thinking off of the physical realm and into the spiritual realm.

Jesus is the bread of life! Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
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He tests us and teaches us

Christs’ response to the crowd’s hunger is also a test of the disciples faith and a very powerf³ul teaching moment. Jesus’ test’s are meant to refine our faith. The different reactions of the disciples give us some insight into the unique way we, as Christians, may respond to opportunities for service which God places in our paths. Some of these responses, taken from Mark’s account of this miracle, may sound very familiar to your own God-given opportunities:

  • The initial response is to just “send the crowd away”. Do you chase away or ignore God’s voice?
  • Philip’s answer is to throw money at the problem. Do you believe just by paying your tithe that this will satisfy God’s desire for you to work for Him?
  • Andrew suggests working to solve it. While this is a good idea to work together in fellowship, it still is not what God wants us to do.

Jesus’ answer to the problem or opportunity is to appeal to God, rather than appealing to human ability.

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The miracle begins

The story continues, and this is where the miracle begins. Andrew brings a young boy who is carrying five barley loaves and two fish to Jesus. What was Andrew thinking? How could that possibly feed such a large crowd. Could it be that Andrew brought this boy to Jesus expectantly? Knowing the miracles Jesus had performed before, I believe Andrew had faith that Jesus could the same here.

When you come to Jesus, come expectantly!

Come to Christ expectantly

What is in the boy’s basket is also significant! The crowd who was almost exclusively Jewish, and they would have about of Elisha’s miracles where twenty small barley loaves fed a hundred men, and there were leftovers (2 Kings 4:42–44)! Jesus will now perform a miracle with an even more dramatic effect by feeding many more with much less. This will demonstrate to the crowd that Jesus is greater than Elisha and inspire the crowd to proclaim Him as the long-awaited Messiah.

Although scripture tells us 5,000 men were there, it is safe to assume that there were women and children too! Meaning this crowd was larger than 5,000; possibly 20,000+

Jesus takes the small offering, gives thanks to His Father and is able to distribute enough for the entire crowd! Wow! This is a real demonstration of Jesus’ supernatural power! But wait, there’s more, there are twelves baskets of leftovers after the entire crowd had their fill!

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Important lessons

We are taught two lessons here.

First Lesson

Firstly, we must not be overly concerned with our own efforts. The disciples first thoughts were to either ignore the problem, stress about where the money will come from or despair over how little they had, were all thoughts toward man’s abilities, and not heavenly abilities. We should be different. We should not lament over how big our need is, we should be faithful enough to bring all we have to God and let God handle the results! But, He also wants us to continue on, in faith, that He will provide what is needed, when it is needed! Secondly, we are taught a lesson in perspective. What seems small or impossible in our hands, becomes so abundant in the hands of Jesus.

Second lesson

On one hand, the people’s reaction to Jesus miracle is appropriate – they profess Him to be the Prophet who was promised. On the other hand though, Jesus knew, that because they had seen these wonderful and powerful miracles, their belief was in what they could physically see and not in what the message the miracle portrays. Jesus knew they wanted to make him king by force, and so Jesus withdraws from the crowd to be by Himself.

Our human effort to accomplish a miracle is not worthless, so long as our efforts come after appealing to God. Our work is not irrelevant to God’s work, but it must be in submission to His power and to His will.

Come to God with your needs. Trust Him. Let Go of worldly promises, and Let God deliver on His heavenly promises!

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The Gospel of John – Testimonies about Jesus

Advertisements Jesus continues his response to His critics in Jerusalem. Up to now, Jesus has healed a crippled man on the Sabbath and He has claimed to be equal with God in works, love, judgment and honour. Now, Jesus speaks about the evidence to His claims. Jesus does not just say: “Have faith” or “believeContinue reading →

The Gospel of John – The Authority of the Son

Advertisements Jesus’ intentionality Christ’s authority- Jesus chose often to perform miracles or other works on the Sabbath. We must remember that Jesus was, and still is, intentional in everything He did and He follows His Father’s instructions. A likely explanation is that Jesus is deliberately provoking the Pharisees by confronting them with their own hypocrisy.Continue reading →

The Gospel of John – No More Lame Excuses

Advertisements If you want to change, you must decide that you want to change before you can change. Jesus asks the lame man:“Do you want to get well?” All of us must face this crucial question continuously throughout our lives. There is a reason Jesus asks this question. The answer to the question “Do youContinue reading →

Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in The Gospel of John, 5 comments

The Gospel of John – Testimonies about Jesus

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Jesus continues his response to His critics in Jerusalem. Up to now, Jesus has healed a crippled man on the Sabbath and He has claimed to be equal with God in works, love, judgment and honour. Now, Jesus speaks about the evidence to His claims. Jesus does not just say: “Have faith” or “believe it because I said so” , He offers reasons and testimony as to why He should be believed. This evidence is given in the form of human testimony, His miracles and the Word of God.

This passage of scripture is extremely important for biblical faith based purely on that Jesus makes no attempt to ask the people to trust Him blindly – “blind faith”. Jesus fulfills the requirements man needs for evidence by giving three separate lines of evidence to prove His claims.

Follow this series on the Gospel of John here:

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Testimonies About Jesus

31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.

33 “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.

36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” John 5:31-47

In keeping with Jewish customs, Jesus knew He could not testify or bare witness to Himself, He needed witnesses or evidence to testify about Him. The need for human testimony is not something that Jesus requires, but Jesus understood that in order for the Pharisees to “believe”, they needed some sort of natural testimony.

The first testimony

Jesus specifically refers to John the Baptist, who bore witness to Jesus and proclaimed His anointing by the Holy Spirit. When the Pharisees came to investigate John the Baptist, he immediately pointed them away from himself and towards the Promised One – Jesus (John 1:25-28).

The second testimony

The next form of evidence Jesus provides is His miracle working abilities, which points directly to His divine nature – He has Godly power. These miracles were seen by others, including critics, first-hand and so Jesus can give this evidence as being far greater than the witness John the Baptist bore for Jesus.

This, is a major part to the Gospel of John – he specifically focuses on Jesus’ miracles, calling them “signs” . The purpose of choosing these miracles is to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God. Miracles are used by God sparingly as a way to prove His message (Hebrews 2:3–4). The fact that Jesus is wielding the power of God should inspire faith in those who see His works.

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The third testimony

In His final testimony, Jesus offers what should be the most powerful testimony of all – the written Word of God. But, unfortunately, these men were too focused on the law and the words in Scriptures that they had never heard God’s voice. Even so, if they knew the laws and scriptures so well, how is that they do not recognise Jesus? Simply put, knowledge is not the same as faith. They were filled with pride and arrogance and this blinded them to recognising that the Scriptures they knew so well were being fulfilled.

We can know the scriptures well, but still lack in faith. It is not enough to know about God as it is to have saving faith in God. Those who refuse to believe will not believe, with or without evidence.

This is a problem many people, many Christian denominations, face today. Their focus rests more on laws and traditions, power and prestige, rather than having faith in the truth. We, as Christians, are call to be believe by faith!

The Pharisees are not rejecting Jesus because they don’t have enough evidence. They are rejecting the evidence because they refuse to believe in Jesus.

Jesus is known for His love and kindness. But He was also willing to be confrontational and powerful when needed. In this passage of Scripture we see Jesus be confrontational. He gets personal with the Pharisees. Jesus has provided more than enough evidence and yet the very law the Pharisees are experts in condemns their actions and supports His claims. For Jesus to point to Moses—the cornerstone of Pharisaical traditions—as the very evidence that they were sinners is an intensely personal, direct challenge to their very identity.

Don’t be like a Pharisee!

There are many who profess to believe the Gospel. They are even good Bible teachers and go on to earn a Ph.D. in Theology. But when reading their written works or observing their way of life, we could seriously question whether they truly know Jesus in a saving way. Like these Jews, they have studied the Scriptures, but they missed coming to Christ so that they may have life.

Don’t be like that! The testimony of the witnesses to Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, is solid. Jesus spoke these words so that you may be saved.

Come to Him so that you may have eternal life.


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The Gospel of John – The Authority of the Son

Advertisements Jesus’ intentionality Christ’s authority- Jesus chose often to perform miracles or other works on the Sabbath. We must remember that Jesus was, and still is, intentional in everything He did and He follows His Father’s instructions. A likely explanation is that Jesus is deliberately provoking the Pharisees by confronting them with their own hypocrisy.Continue reading →

The Gospel of John – No More Lame Excuses

Advertisements If you want to change, you must decide that you want to change before you can change. Jesus asks the lame man:“Do you want to get well?” All of us must face this crucial question continuously throughout our lives. There is a reason Jesus asks this question. The answer to the question “Do youContinue reading →

The Gospel of John – The Second Sign

Advertisements We are people who need to believe that Jesus saves despite long distance, that Jesus saves by remote control. If you are sick or have a loved one sick, pray to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is away in heaven. He can heal long distance, as shown in this account. Or if you wantContinue reading →

The Gospel of John – Living Water

Advertisements One of the wonderful things about the Good News that Jesus Christ brings is that it meets the basic need that all people have. You can be the president of a country, be a well educated person with multiple degrees, or you can be someone in the most remote place on the globe, inContinue reading →

Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in The Gospel of John, 3 comments