In John 6.15-21 we see another wondrously miraculous sign that teaches us something about Jesus. In v.19 we read that Jesus walked on the sea and came near to the boat the disciples were in. This, understandably, frightened them, but Jesus reassured them simply with His person and His presence (v.20). This changed the disciples’ feelings from weary to willing, frightened to faith-filled (v.21).
We read in v.21,
Then [the disciples] were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.
Jesus transformed the disciples from weary to willing, from frightened to faith-filled simply with His person and His presence. They were frightened in v.19, now they are glad to take him into the boat in v.21.
Where we read ‘glad’, John is describing the disciples exercising their will; they now chose to take Jesus into the boat. Jesus didn’t say “ay, make room, I’m here now and I’m coming in!“. He approaches them supernaturally and wonderfully, they see this, have a healthy and reverential fear (they were frightened, they reverentially feared), and this then transforms their will, their choices, their intentions. Literally they were willing to take Him into the boat.
So the sign, the wonder, the miracle – Jesus walking on the sea. The disciples were struggling to row their boat across the lake (vv.18-19a, cf. Mark 6.48) and Jesus intervened in their time of trouble and brought them to safety, when they were willing to take Him into the boat.
I read recently that,
The implication was that Jesus would not come unless He was willingly received.
Even [though He was] walking on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus waited to be welcomed by His disciples.
Yes, He absolutely wanted to be welcomed into the boat, He wanted them to be transformed and exercise their free will in partnership with His sovereignty (the sovereignty He has displayed over the created and natural world in John 6), and this is a partnership He wants to pursue with you too!
Revelation 3.20 says
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
He doesn’t say “ay, stand back, I’m going to kick down the door“. He knocks, and walking on the water was Him knocking on the door of the disciples hearts, minds, and wills so they would welcome Him in.
The question for you then is this –
have you welcomed Him in?
John 6.15-21 teaches us that Jesus is master over all natural elements in the world. Last week, master over the created world, here the natural world.
As for the disciples who witnessed this in person, the same is true for us who witness this through the written Word: Jesus walking on the water takes you from wary to willing, from frightened to faith-filled. They had a pretty good idea who He was, they’d seen some things He’d done, but this was it, their transformation from wary to willing, theory to practice, thoughts and feelings into action.
So, for you today, have you heard of Jesus, do you understand who He claims to be, and are you now willing to welcome Him in? This was, I believe, the moment when the disciples made that radical commitment to Jesus, when they went from understanding who He was in an intellectual way (John 1.29, 49, 2.11, 4.25, 41, 53 ,6.14) to being so all-in committed that they had a change of volition, their use of their free will changed to the point where they were glad to take Him into the boat. This was, I believe, the moment when the comfortable patterns of their old life were left behind, they had seen this sign and were now all-in committed. I read this recently,
The motor home has allowed us to put all the conveniences of home on wheels. A camper no longer needs to contend with sleeping in a sleeping bag, cooking over a fire, or hauling water from a stream. Now he can park a fully equipped home on a cement slab in the midst of a few pine trees and hook up to a water line, a sewer line and electricity…No more bother with dirt, no more smoke from the fire, no more drudgery of walking to the stream. Now it is possible to go camping and never have to go outside. We buy a motor home with the hope of seeing new places, of getting out into the world. Yet we deck it out with the same furnishings as in our living room. Thus nothing really changes. We may drive to a new place, set ourselves in new surrounding, but the newness goes unnoticed, for we’ve only carried along our old setting.
The adventure of new life in Christ begins when the comfortable patterns of the old life are left behind.
This happened for the disciples here when they saw in a short space of time that Jesus was Lord over both the created world and the natural world. They were so convinced that they had a radical change in how they use their will, a radical change in the choices they make.
Have you, will you?