"Jesus Walks on Water"

Jesus Walks on Water

Jesus Walks on Water
Bible Study (John 6:15-21)


This is John's account of Jesus Walks on Water. The Holy Spirit presented different bits and pieces of information, often seen from a different perspective in each of the four gospels; but, as we have seen, John doesn't seem to be as concerned with listing all the miracles and things Jesus did in as much as in presenting Him as the Messiah.

The most noticeable difference in this account of Jesus walks on water, is that Peter isn't mentioned, as in Matthew 14:28-32 , where he gets out of the boat and walks on the water to meet Jesus. And it seems to be the same occurrence, because Matthew and Mark, and John all show it immediately after He feeds the five thousand, but the "Jesus Walking on Water" occurrence isn't recorded at all in Luke.

As we have seen: Jesus had finished with the feeding of the five thousand, probably more like twenty thousand, and had slipped off to get away from the people because they had plans to force Him to be King. So He had gone to the mountain by Himself, which was typical for Him.

And He had instructed the disciples to go on ahead of him to Capernaum.

So, in verses 16 and 17 we find the disciples doing just as Jesus had told them.

SCRIPTURE: (John 6:16-21)

VERSES 16-17 "When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them."

Capernaum is located to the north of Tiberias, actually pretty much on the northern tip of the Sea of Galilee. So, they had been to the opposite side and started back across the Sea of Galilee.

Now, to Jesus and the disciples, Capernaum wasn't just another place to go, in fact some think, as we might say, they were going home.

Capernaum was one of the smaller cities on the Sea of Galilee with a population of no more than 1500. According to the "Jewish Virtual Library" it was where "Jesus lived during much of his ministry in the Galilee, as well as several of the Apostles.

Simon (called Peter) and his brother Andrew, James son of Zebedee and his brother John - lived in the village, also Matthew (Levi son of Alphaeus) (al-FEE-uhs) the tax collector lived there."

According to historians Capernaum was abandoned in the 7th century and rediscovered through archeology. Underneath a modern church built on the site are fifth and fourth-century churches including the first-century dwelling/church "House of Peter."

Also of interest is that Capernaum is one of the three cities Jesus cursed.

  • Chorazin, (koh-RAY-zin) Only 2 and one half miles north of Capernaum, (Matt. 11:21-22).
  • Bethsaida, - also close to Capernaum, in Both Matthew (11:21-22) and Luke (10:13-14) Jesus cursed Bethsaida for not accepting him
  • Capernaum) - "And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."(Matt. 11:23-24) (ESV).
  • So, they are on their way back to Capernaum when Jesus walks on water.

    And Verse 18 says:

    VERSE 18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing.

    Just to consider the type of day they have had to this point:

    They had crossed this same sea earlier, and in the day, then had walked up the mountain where Jesus and they sat, then Jesus had distributed the food to the disciples and they to possibly twenty thousand people - so at any rate, don't you think they had already had "a long day."

    So, in verse 19:

    VERSE 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.

    Sometimes we have unexpected problems; And here they were in this boat, most boats of that time had sails, but sails wouldn't be any good in a storm, and we're told here that they were in this little boat, rowing, estimated to be about half way across, during a storm, and it was dark. All our storms seem worse at night don't they?

    And in the second part of the verse they see Jesus coming toward them on the water. But they didn't know that it was Jesus, (so trying to see it from their perspective, just being in this dangerous storm to begin with, and then here is what appeared to be some sort of apparition coming toward them, wouldn't that be a tough way to end a long day?)

    Speaking along these lines:
    These guys living with Jesus didn't know what to expect next, did they?

    They had abandoned their earthly pursuits and were following wherever He led, doing as He said to do, and seeing one miracle after another.

    Wouldn't that be an exciting life. (Don't you think that's the way He intended for us to live?) I think so.

    So, back to the boat, Jesus realized they were afraid,

    and verse 20 says:

    VERSE 20 But he said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid."

    Jesus stated this in a way that the disciples would recognize Him.

    But He was walking on water, (an obvious display of His deity), and according to the translators, another legitimate way this could have been translated would have been for Jesus to say this is the "I Am." (capital letters)

    As a matter of interest: In the old Testament Moses, Joshua, Elijah, and Elisha all parted the water, but, Jesus is the only one we are told that ever walk on the water.

    And our last verse in this study:

    verse 21, John says:

    VERSE 21 "Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going."

    Don't you just know they were glad to have Jesus in that boat!

    And it says they were, (Immediately at the shore)

    After all the things the disciples had seen that day I wonder if they were even surprised that they were immediately where they were going.

    Thinking of these miracles: multiplying food, walking on water, instantaneous travel, lets us know that Jesus truly is the supreme authority in all the universe.

    And something to remember is that John, the John writing this gospel was in that boat and this is his first hand report. (testimony)

    Our next study practically picks up where we top today, so we can read where Jesus says "I am the Bread of Life" (John 6:22-40)

    Sometimes we get little glimpses of Jesus between the lines of the bible.


    Do you think Jesus has a sense of humor, or is it just me?

    In our next study, in verse 22 the people Jesus had fed were still on the other side of the sea looking for Him.

    They knew there was only one boat and had seen the disciples leave in it without Jesus---

    (they didn't know about Jesus' divine mode of transportation did they?)

    In our next study we can read John 6:22-40) Jesus is the Bread of Life Come Down From Heaven

    Gospel of John Bible Study


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    Jesus Walks on Water

    Samuel L. Mills