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|This is the New King James text of the passages.|
Matthew 14:22-36; Mark 6:45-56; John 6:15-71 Listen
In these passages, we see the following events in Jesus' ministry:
Jesus walks on the sea (Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-52; John 6:15-21)
|22 ¶ Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.
23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.
24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
25 ¶ Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
27 ¶ But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
28 ¶ And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
29 ¶ So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
31 ¶ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
33 ¶ Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
|45 ¶ Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away.
46 And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray.
47 Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land.
48 Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.
49 And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out;
50 for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
51 Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled.
52 For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.
|15 ¶ Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.
16 ¶ Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea,
17 got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them.
18 Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing.
19 So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid.
20 But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”
21 Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.
This event follows the feeding of the five thousand recorded in Matthew 14:14-21; Mark 6:33-44; Luke 9:11-17; John 6:1-14 (see notes). On that occasion, Jesus and his disciples had boarded a ship and traveled to a solitary place away from Bethsaida. It was on a mountain side that Jesus and his disciples were approached by the 5,000+ people for a teaching session. During that time, we are told in John 6:4 (see notes) that the third Passover of Jesus' ministry was taking place. Now we find Jesus sending his disciples away, back toward Capernaum/Bethsaida (see map). Since they reach Gennesaret in Matthew 14:34/Mark 6:53 (see below), they are traveling along the shore from east to west.
It is interesting that, while Matthew, Mark and John give the account of the story of Jesus walking on the water, only Matthew tells us about Peter trying to duplicate the feat. Obviously that wasn't the big story to John and Mark. John gives a great bit of detail to the subsequent fallout on the day following this miracle where we see that many of Jesus' disciples (not the twelve Apostles) cease following Jesus.
They are rowing against the wind (about 3 to 3.5 miles out) and making little or no progress across the Sea of Galilee toward Capernaum/Bethsaida when Jesus (who had stayed behind to pray) walks by the ship...on the water. Matthew and Mark point out that the disciples thought at first that Jesus was a "spirit" (i.e. "ghost"). The Greek word used in Matthew 14:26 and Mark 6:49 is "phantasma" and is used only these two times in the New Testament. After everything they had seen Jesus do, why would a little Jesus water walking surprise them so? And why would it be easier to believe that they were seeing a ghost rather than Jesus actually walking on the water? Mark makes a noteworthy observation in Mark 6:52, "For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened." The term "heart was hardened" is only meant to convey to the reader that these disciples were having a difficult time equating the miracles of Jesus with the reality that he, as God, had power over the elements of the universe. Even though they had viewed the reality-defying feat of feeding the five thousand, they were nonetheless amazed at a little bit of water walking. Mark seems to find that aspect of the story amusing while Matthew finds amusing the fact that Peter tries his hand out at water walking as well. John gives the account, but makes a point that neither Matthew nor Mark mention in John 6:15 regarding Jesus' initial absence from the ship, "Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone." Only John felt that it was important to show WHY Jesus initially stayed back after sending the people away.
Many touch him and are made well (Matthew 14:34-36; Mark 6:53-56)
|34 ¶ When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret.
35 And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick,
36 and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.
|53 ¶ When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret and anchored there.
54 And when they came out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him,
55 ran through that whole surrounding region, and began to carry about on beds those who were sick to wherever they heard He was.
56 Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.
Gennesaret is on the northwest side of the Sea of Galilee next to Capernaum. Obviously he is well received upon his arrival there. The sick people there are brought out into the open where Jesus will pass by. All those who touch the "border/hem" of his garment are healed. These tassels (Hebrew: tzitzit, Greek: "kraspedon") were part of his garment in keeping with the Law of Moses in Numbers 15:38 (see notes), "Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners." Observant Jews still wear these tassels on their four-cornered garments today. Another "tzitzit" incident is found in Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56 (see notes). It was believed that touching these tassels on Jesus' garment would result in healing...and it did; all that touched were made "perfectly well."
Hey! Jesus! How did you do that? (John 6:22-25)
|22 ¶ On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone—
23 however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks—
24 when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
25 And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?”
John adds a little addendum to the miracle of Jesus walking on the water. The people were unaware of that miracle, and they had seen only his disciples get on that single ship. Yet Jesus had somehow ended up with his disciples at their destination. Having seen no other ships at the time, the people all wonder, "How'd he do that?"
A very controversial discussion about bread (John 6:26-59)
|26 ¶ Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
28 ¶ Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
29 ¶ Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
30 ¶ Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do?
31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ”
32 ¶ Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 ¶ Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
35 ¶ And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.
37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.
40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
41 ¶ The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.”
42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
43 ¶ Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves.
44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.
46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.
47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.
48 I am the bread of life.
49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
52 ¶ The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”
53 ¶ Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.
54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.
56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.
58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
59 ¶ These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.
This episode takes place in the synagogue in Capernaum (verse 59) near the time of the Passover feast - one year before the crucifixion. Jesus had just miraculously fed the 5,000 (Matthew 14:14-21; Mark 6:33-44; Luke 9:11-17; John 6:1-14, see notes). The teaching session becomes one of extreme doctrinal significance. The discussion turns to one of motivation when the people finally find Jesus. He points out to the crowd in verse 26, "...you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled." That's an interesting observation Jesus shares with us: Many of these followers were simply prosperity seekers. They weren't interested in Jesus for any of the right reasons; they simply observed that he was able to take two fishes and five loaves and feed 5,000 with food left over. Incidentally, this prosperity message is still being preached today. Many are following a message of financial wealth and well being as their primary attraction to Jesus. You will note that Jesus clearly establishes that this is not the proper motivation for following him.
"Well, how about a sign then?" the people asked. You know...something akin to the manna God dropped from Heaven back in the wilderness wanderings. I'm reminded here of Paul's characterization of the Jews in I Corinthians 1:22 (see notes), "For the Jews request a sign..." Jesus then makes a definitive statement in John 6:35, "And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." Let that analogy soak in for a minute; it's packed with implications. Here's a teaching: The Holy Spirit motivates salvation. God will use this message of salvation coupled with the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to draw people to a salvation experience. There it is in John 6:44, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day." Let's dwell there a moment. We are saved when we are drawn by the Holy Spirit to receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. Titus 3:5 (see notes) says, "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit." The Greek word for "renewing" there ("anakainosis") means "renovation." Lost people need a renovation that can only be done by the Holy Spirit. That's why Paul portrays this new life in Jesus Christ in such radical terms in II Corinthians 5:17 (see notes), "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." I'd say that's a pretty significant renovation, wouldn't you?
What's the differentiation here? Here it is. Salvation is not merely experiencing an enlightenment or saying some special words out loud. It's not just a determination to do right or a deep emotional experience of remorse. All of these may accompany salvation, but true salvation happens when God supernaturally, through the power of the Holy Spirit, draws a person to commit themselves completely to Jesus Christ as their ONLY means to God and Heaven. When that process takes place, it's permanent. It says so right here in verse 35, "shall never hunger" and verse 37, "I will by no means cast out" and in verse 39, "I should lose nothing" and in verse 40, "have everlasting life." Incidentally, verse 37 includes a Greek double negative ("ou me"). That double-negative combination adds strength to the adamant guarantee, "by no means cast out." It's the equivalent of our oft-used slang term "ain't no way!" This phrase is actually used 94 times in the New Testament.
Here's a very strong and decisive statement to the discussion in John 6:47, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life." So, how long is everlasting anyway? Until you sin? No! Everlasting is everlasting. Salvation is a relationship - not a passing experience! When you trust Christ as your Savior, you enter into a permanent, eternal covenant with God whereby you are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13, see notes). You become part of God's family. Our shortcomings have no bearing on the integrity of that permanent relationship.
Jesus is very clear in verses 34-35 with his metaphor for eating: He's clearly talking about believing on Jesus as Savior. In other words, Bread of life = everlasting life. Notice Jesus' reference in verse 45 to the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34, click here), "It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me." Jesus refers to the fact that the future Kingdom on Earth that will be established will see a New Covenant established whereby all inhabitants of the earth are saved and living by faith. This concept is in stark contrast to the practice among the Jews in Jesus' day.
Then Jesus caps off the discussion in John 6:58, "This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever." Manna is the supernatural bread that was supplied from God for forty years to Israel beginning in Exodus 16 (see notes). This picture would later be revisited in the observance of communion. The institution of this ordinance is found in Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:17-20 (see notes) following the last supper Jesus had with his disciples prior to the crucifixion. Paul deals with communion in its proper context in I Corinthians 11:23-26 (see notes).
Watch them exit! What is discipleship...anyway? (John 6:60-71)
|60 ¶ Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”
61 ¶ When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you?
62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?
63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.
65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”
66 ¶ From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
68 ¶ But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
70 ¶ Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”
71 He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.
After this discussion, some of the seekers who had been following Jesus followed no more as we see in John 6:66, "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more." That statement has no implications regarding salvation whatsoever. It's a simple statement regarding who continued to physically follow Jesus around in his ministry. However, what about the Twelve? Here's Peter's defining statement in John 6:68-69, "But Simon Peter answered Him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'" However, that was not the testimony of one there. Look at verse 70, "Jesus answered them, 'Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?'" The Greek word for "devil" there is "diabolos," from which we get our English word, "diabolical." That word is usually translated "devil," but is also sometimes translated "accuser" or "slanderer." Since the definite article is not used here (i.e. the devil), it is not likely that Jesus is referring to Judas as the devil incarnate, but rather is identifying that one there (Judas) has motivations that are diabolical - the devil will be pleased; Jesus identifies that one one of them is there with evil motivations. This puts to rest the notion that Judas fell out of a relationship with Jesus or lost his salvation. Jesus clearly identifies that Judas was chosen as a disciple for a specific purpose, but was evil from the beginning.
Let me say again: Salvation and discipleship are two different relationships. Would you not agree that verse 70 tells us that while Judas WAS a disciple, he WAS NOT saved. Let's not stop with Judas. Are there not a host of people in our world today who subscribe to the notion of emulating the life of Jesus, but who have not trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior? There are entire religions and denominations based upon this principle. Therefore, let me say it even once again: Salvation and discipleship are two different relationships. The victorious Believer has both. If you want to read more about the difference between salvation and discipleship, click here to read the notes on Matthew 16:24-27; Mark 8:34-38; Luke 9:23-26.