21 – Knowing Christ
Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.
Do you think that seeing a miracle would help you to believe in Jesus Christ?
What sort of things do the people that you know say about Jesus?
In English we have an interesting saying – ‘You can’t see the wood for the trees.’ This means that although the thing you are searching for is right in front of you, for some reason you are not able to see it. It is entirely obvious, but you don’t see it. Reading this account here of Jesus walking on the water and the response of the disciples, you feel that the disciples still to fail to see that which is under their noses. They had been travelling with Jesus, spending every day in his company, had seen all his miracles and they still didn’t understand. Even after the last miracle they saw, feeding the five thousand, they can’t believe that Jesus is able to walk on water and therefore they become afraid, and then confused.
This makes the response of the people after they had landed even more wonderful. When these people see Jesus, they realise who he is. They do not delay at all, but begin to rush to him straight away, to bring people to Jesus so that he can make them better. They do not doubt at all who it is that has arrived, or the fact that he can help them. Furthermore, they come in faith, and their faith proves to be justified.
This story is a serious warning to us. The disciples had spent all that time in Jesus’s company, and still they had not really understood who he was. On the other hand, these strangers had seen at once who Jesus was, had run to him and had received healing. Is there a danger that we spend a lot of our time going to chapel and such things, but without really knowing Jesus?
What do you think that Jesus wanted to show to his disciples through walking on the water?
How do you think the disciples felt when they realised that it was Jesus there?
that God would allow you to see that Jesus is the King who can save you, believe in him, and run to him.