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The Lord who walks on water

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

It had been an amazing day for Jesus’ disciples, but now they were in trouble.
They’d seen him take five loaves and two fish, and feed a crowd of five thousand, with tons to spare. Understandably, Jesus was mobbed by the crowd, and He slipped away to the hills.
But evening was coming, and His disciples needed to head for home, across the Sea of Galilee. Where was He? Eventually – as darkness was falling – they got into a boat and set off without Him. 
Out in the middle, and now in the dark, the wind got up, and the waves began to build. Were they going to make it? “If only we’d set off earlier”, we can hear them shout, “Whose stupid idea was it to wait till now?”
It was just then that they saw Jesus walking on the water – a sight that, at first, terrified them (as it would!). He reassured them, got into the boat with them, and they arrived safely at their destination.
John records this true story in the middle of his account of the feeding of the five thousand and the explanation of the miracle that follows – that Jesus is the Bread of Life. Everything else in the chapter is about bread, so why this?
For one thing, this helps us – as all the miracles in the gospel do – identify Jesus as The Christ, the Son of God (20:30). That’s why the miracles are called signs. Here in John 6, the giving of the bread is supposed to remind us of Moses, through whom God gave His people manna in the desert (6:32, 49). It should not surprise us that in the adjacent miracle, Jesus crossed the sea miraculously, just as Moses led the people across the Red Sea.
But there is surely a further theme. It is our Lord Jesus’ ability to help His people in apparently impossible situations. He seems to have wanted to help His disciples see this – just before feeding the five thousand, He asked Philip where they could find bread, and John tells us that this was only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do (6:6). They would never have forgotten seeing Him provide for them!
The walking on the water has a similar feel. It could not have been a clearer sign to His disciples that He could reach and help them, just when they thought they were beyond His reach. “If only Jesus were here!”, we can hear them saying. But then – by being able to walk on the water itself – He came to them. The miracle points to His ability to reach us, whatever the difficulties we are in – including those of our own making!
As Jesus’ disciples face difficulties today, will we remember the One Who can walk to us across the water?