After the feeding of the five thousand Jesus had retreated to a mountain to be by Himself. When evening came the disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat and headed back to Capernaum. I’m not sure why the twelve left for Capernaum without Jesus. My guess is that they saw the weather and the tide and decided the circumstances meant they couldn’t wait for Him. They trusted that Jesus was a big boy who could take care of Himself. They knew He could catch a ride with a fisherman when He was ready. Verse 18-19 tell us what happened next.
“The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened.”
There were some experienced fisherman aboard that boat. They knew how to handle it in the storm and they were doing their best. They had managed to row about three or four miles across. If they had held hope that somehow Jesus was going to catch another boat and catch up to them, I’m sure they had lost that hope. It was physically impossible at this point. But then they saw Him just walking toward them on the rolling and rough water.
Imagine it. The stress of trying to keep the boat on course combined with feelings that perhaps they left to soon. The adrenaline from the situation and the sight of their rabbi walking towards them must have been terrifying. Had any of them been thinking, ‘I wish Jesus was here’ or ‘If Jesus were here He would make this better?’ Now suddenly there He was walking toward them. Was it a ghost, a hallucination, or worse?
Verse 20 says,
“But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”
Jesus immediately comforted them. He was there. He told them not to be afraid. He didn’t have to do any more than that. If Jesus was there, then there was nothing to be afraid of.
Verse 21 reads,
“Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.”
They weren’t afraid anymore, they were glad to take Jesus into the boat from the rough water. Instantaneously the boat was at its destination. They didn’t have to row anymore. They had made it about halfway across the sea on their own power. I’m sure they were tired. Rowing in turbulent waters isn’t easy. But they didn’t have to struggle any longer. As soon as Jesus was with them and they had brought Him into the boat, they were at Capernaum.
How often do you struggle to do something yourself? Instead of waiting for Jesus, do you look at your circumstances and take matters into your own hands? The exertions you go through to meet your goal would have been so much easier or even non-existent had you depended on God. God can meet all your needs, He can take you where you are going, and He can lead you exactly the way He wants. His way is always better.
Had the disciples waited for Jesus instead of determining that they had to leave then, they would have gotten to Capernaum safely and without the labor of rowing so far across the tumultuous sea. If you had waited for Jesus, maybe He would have provided the electricity money instead of having you borrow it. If you had let God lead you, perhaps instead of fighting with your child to get her to rehab, God would have led her there.
Are you waiting for Jesus or are you figuring it out your own way?