JESUS WALKS ON WATER
Matthew 14:33, ESV
And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
MATTHEW 14:22-24, NIrV
22 Right away Jesus made the disciples get into the boat. He had them go on ahead of him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Then he sent the crowd away. 23 After he had sent them away, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone. 24 The boat was already a long way from land. It was being pounded by the waves because the wind was blowing against it.
Right after feeding 5,000 men with a few bites of food, Jesus sent the crowd back to their homes and sent his disciples across the Sea of Galilee. Why did he order everyone to skedaddle? Because he wanted time alone to talk to his Father: God! As the disciples set off in their small sailboat, it was way past bedtime. I'm sure they were hoping for a relaxing sail across the lake. But the Sea of Galilee had other plans! The wind blew in the wrong direction, creating waves that beat against the boat. The disciples struggled for over nine hours, but they were still stuck in the middle of the lake!
+ Where did Jesus go to pray to God, his Father? (vs. 23)
+ How would the disciples have felt battling against the wind for over nine hours?
MATTHEW 14:25-27, NIrV
25 Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to the disciples. He walked on the lake. 26 They saw him walking on the lake and were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said. And they cried out in fear.
27 Right away Jesus called out to them, “Be brave! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Try to put yourself in the disciples’ shoes (or sandals). For the last nine hours, you’ve struggled against a stormy sea. It’s sometime between 3 and 6 in the morning. You’re tired and your arms feel like wiggly spaghetti from rowing all night long. Suddenly, you spot something off in the distance. You can’t quite see what it is through the stormy mist and darkness, but it’s headed right for you, walking on top of the waves! Can you understand now why the disciples cried out, “Ahhh! It’s a ghost!” The last thing they would have ever expected to see was Jesus taking a nighttime stroll on the stormy sea!
+ Why was Jesus able to walk on top of the water without sinking?
+ What did Jesus say to the disciples? (vs. 27)
MATTHEW 14:28-33, NIrV
28 “Lord, is it you?” Peter asked. “If it is, tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” Jesus said.
So Peter got out of the boat. He walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid. He began to sink. He cried out, “Lord! Save me!”
31 Right away Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “Your faith is so small!” he said. “Why did you doubt me?”
32 When they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those in the boat worshiped Jesus. They said, “You really are the Son of God!”
Still startled at seeing a stranger strolling on the stormy sea, Peter wasn’t so sure the person walking on the waves was really Jesus. Perhaps it was a tricky evil spirit! So he said, “If it’s really you, Jesus, tell me to walk on water, too!” When Jesus said, “Come,” Peter stepped out of the boat and actually stood on the sea! But Peter’s water-walking didn’t last long. Seeing the wind and waves, Peter began to wonder if Jesus could keep him afloat. As soon as he began to doubt, Pete sank like a rock. Thankfully, the Water-Walking Champion of the World was there to rescue Peter from a watery grave!
+ What happened as soon as they got into the boat? (vs. 32)
+ What did the disciples say after seeing Jesus walk on the water? (vs. 33)
JOHN 6:22-26, NIRV
22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the other side of the lake realized something. They saw that only one boat had been there. They knew that Jesus had not gotten into it with his disciples. And they knew that the disciples had gone away alone. 23 Then some boats arrived from Tiberias. It was near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord gave thanks. 24 The crowd realized that Jesus and his disciples were not there. So they got into boats and went to Capernaum to look for Jesus.
25 They found him on the other side of the lake. They asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26 Jesus answered, “What I’m about to tell you is true. You are not looking for me because you saw the signs I did. You are looking for me because you ate the loaves until you were full.
When the crowd came back the day after the feeding of the 5000, Jesus the Miracle-Meal Maker was missing! Now, you and I know where he was: he was on the other side of the Sea of Galilee after walking on the waves! With no sign of Jesus, the crowd set sail across the sea in search of him. When they finally found him, they asked, "How'd you get here without a boat?" Jesus didn't answer that question. Why? Because he knew exactly why this crowd had tracked him down. These people didn’t want to become his disciples; they just wanted another belly-filling miracle meal!
+ How did Jesus get across the lake without using a boat?
+ According to Jesus, why did the crowd search for him? (vs. 26)
JOHN 6:26-29, NIRV
26 Jesus answered, “What I’m about to tell you is true. You are not looking for me because you saw the signs I did. You are looking for me because you ate the loaves until you were full. 27 Do not work for food that spoils. Work for food that lasts forever. That is the food the Son of Man will give you. For God the Father has put his seal of approval on him.”
28 Then they asked him, “What does God want from us? What works does he want us to do?”
29 Jesus answered, “God’s work is to believe in the one he has sent.”
Have you ever gone to a pond and fed the ducks? Give them one piece of bread and they follow you around forever, quacking for more snacks! The people searching for Jesus were kind of like ducks. With bellies full of bread and fish, they followed Jesus around, hoping for more miracle meals. But Jesus came to save sinners, not serve fish sandwiches! He told the people to stop chasing him around begging for bread that would fill their bellies for a single day. Instead, Jesus offered to give them food that would fill their souls forever. Tomorrow, we’ll learn that this “food” was actually Jesus!
+ What did the crowd ask Jesus? (vs. 28)
+ Jesus told them to believe in the person God sent. Who was he talking about? (vs. 29)
JOHN 6:30-35, NIRV
30 So they asked him, “What sign will you give us? What will you do so we can see it and believe you? 31 Long ago our people ate the manna in the desert. It is written in Scripture, ‘The Lord gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” (Exodus 16:4; Nehemiah 9:15; Psalm 78:24,25)
32 Jesus said to them, “What I’m about to tell you is true. It is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven. It is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 The bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven. He gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
35 Then Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry. And whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Jesus wanted this crowd to stop begging for bread and start believing in him, the one sent by God to save them. But the crowd wasn’t ready to put their faith and trust in Jesus, not just yet. “If you want us to believe in you,” they said, “what wonder will you do?” They wanted Jesus to perform a sign, a mighty miracle that would powerfully prove that God was with him.
The crowd gave Jesus a hint about the sign they wanted him to perform. They reminded him of a miracle God had done for their people 1,500 years earlier, during the days of a man named Moses. Wandering in the wilderness, starving for food, God miraculously fed his people. Every morning, he caused a special bread to appear on the ground. The Israelites called this miracle meal “manna.” For forty years, God's people filled their bellies with free food from their Father in heaven.
After seeing Jesus feed the 5,000 until they were full of fish and bread, the people thought, “This is like Moses and the manna all over again! God has sent this Jesus to feed us forever!” It’s true that Jesus had been sent by God on a special mission. But his mission wasn’t to serve sandwiches; it was to save sinners! To help the crowd understand this, Jesus said something strange: “I am the bread of life.”
What did he mean by that? Was Jesus letting us know his big secret, that he was a walking and talking slice of bread? Obviously not! Instead, he used the idea of bread to help the people understand what he had come to our planet to do.
Just like God sent manna to save his people from starving to death, God sent Jesus, the “bread of life,” to save them from something even worse than starving: sin! What makes sin so bad? Because the punishment for sin (disobeying God’s commands) is a forever, fiery death outside of God’s good kingdom! That’s way worse than starving!
To save us from sin, Jesus was sent to die in our place. And he completed that mission when he was nailed to a wooden cross. He died so that we wouldn’t be punished. But since Jesus had walking-on-water, feeding-the-5000, Son-of-God power, he didn’t stay dead. On the third day, he raised himself back to life!
The Bible says, if we believe this good news about Jesus, we’re saved from that forever, fiery death our sins deserve. Instead, we will spend forever in God’s good kingdom! The people who munched on manna bread in the wilderness lived for 40 years, but anyone who believes in Jesus, the “bread of life,” will live with God forever!
+ What miracle did the crowd want Jesus to do over and over again? (vs. 31)
+ How was Jesus, the bread of life, like the manna God sent in the wilderness?