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For this devotional, please read John 6
When evening came…
We all experience “evenings”, times when the sun goes down and things get dark. We grow tired of working, always working, and there seems to be no rest. Hope fades as the darkness grows.
…his disciples went down to the lake
The lake in this case is Lake Tiberias, also known as the Sea of Galilee. It’s shaped like a harp, five miles wide and ten miles long, located in North Israel.
…where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum.
They begin a journey, at night, in hopes of reaching Capernaum. What does Capernaum mean? It is the village of comfort. Aren’t we all on that same journey, looking for something that will satisfy?
…By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them
So often on our journeys it seems as if God is not with us. We do not feel him here. It is dark all around us and we ask, “God, where are you? Why have you forsaken me?”
… A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough.
The strong winds always come. We cannot avoid strife and pain. It batters us and mocks us with its strength and cruelty. We remember His words, “In this world, you will have trouble…” and trouble we have plenty of.
…When they had rowed about three or four miles,
The journey continues. On and on we toil and work and daybreak seems to never come. These disciples row for almost an hour in the dark of a terrible storm, until…
…they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water
At the very beginning of this book, the author John tells us that Jesus was in the beginning with God. He reinforces that truth right here in this verse by depicting Jesus on the water, just as the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. (Gen. 1:2) Jesus is God.
…and they were frightened.
Once we encounter God, we realize that our previous situation did not deserve wilted courage or bowed resolve. The disciples become TRULY afraid (filled with awe and wonder) AFTER they see Jesus, and rightfully so. The storm is one thing, but God is another thing entirely.
…But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”
When God speaks, things happen. A world was created, the law was given, storms cease and people are healed. It’s as if Jesus is saying, “If it were not I who was wielding this power, you would have ample reason be afraid. But since it is me, you need not fear, for I am good.” The powerful God that demands our fear and respect also calls out to us, telling us not to fear, for He is near.
…Then they were willing to take him into the boat
Once God speaks to us, we feel his presence. Jesus was there on the water with His disciples, but it wasn’t until He spoke that they accepted Him. It’s the same with us. The thought of a powerful God is not enough to draw us to Him. But knowing that He is good, that He loves us and wants to have relationship with us, compels us to invite Him into our little-boat-lives. For without Him, we drown.
…and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.
God is victorious. He doesn’t promise that our lives will be pain-free, but His yoke is easy and His burden is light and “he has overcome the world”. Miraculous things follow after those who follow Him. We will arrive, just like the disciples. By His strength we will succeed.
Hallelujah, God you reign. Jesus, you are God and you reign over all the earth. Thank you for reaching out to me, for saving me, for speaking truth to me. I trust you with the little that I have and ask that you be my all-sufficient Savior, my captain, my redeemer, and my satisfaction. Amen.
Question: How have you experienced God in the storm?