Jesus Walks on Water and Softens His Disciples’ Hearts (Mark Sermon 29)
October 30, 2022 | Andrew Davis
Walk by Faith, Deity of Christ
Pastor Andy Davis preached on Mark 6:45-56, the account of Jesus walking on water that inspires the journey from unbelieving hearts to faith-filled worship.
- SERMON TRANSCRIPT -
Turn in your Bibles to Mark 6. This morning we're going to be looking at one of the most famous miracles of Jesus's life. Oftentimes, we hear that expression about somebody walking on water, and we speak of it maybe a little sarcastically- “It's not like he walks on water or anything like that.” We use that expression, so it's well-known. Somebody who thinks too highly of themself or others or ascribing too great things to an individual, but with Jesus it's exactly the opposite. We think too little of him. We don't understand who He is. This miracle account is written to remedy that.
I ask this every time I get up to preach. I think about this as we make our way through this incredible Gospel of Mark. Why did the Holy Spirit give us this account? What does He want us to get out of it? Again and again, I have presented before you not just the Gospel of Mark, but all four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as working together to feed us what we need for the salvation of our souls. "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in. . .” Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, " but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, and by believing may have life in His name." These accounts are written for our faith, that we might believe in Jesus and have eternal life, the forgiveness of sins.
But what is the nature of that faith? Can it grow and develop? Yes, it must grow and develop. There is an initial faith that saves, that justifies, and it begins our life in Christ, but it needs to grow and develop. None of us are done being saved. We need to believe ever more in Jesus.
I. The Disciples’ Hardened Hearts
We have a sense of that in the disciples' condition that's recorded for us in verse 52. Look at it. You can see the disciples' hardened hearts being reflected. This is a key for me to answer the question, “Why is this text here? “ What do we, First Baptist Church, what do we need to get out of it today? Look at it. Look at verse 52, ”They [the disciples, the apostles] "had not understood about the loaves. Their hearts were hardened." What does that mean? What does it mean they hadn't understood about the loaves? What does it mean that their hearts were hardened? Could that be our condition too? We haven't really fully understood what we've been reading, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. We haven't fully understood the ramifications of Jesus, the lesson of the loaves. Why? Because our hearts are hardened too.
Again and again, I've said it's very dangerous to come to any text in which some deficiencies of people are recorded, sins or conditions, and say, "I thank you, God, that I'm not like the people down here in this text." Rather it should be, “How am I like these people? How am I like the disciples? How is it that I haven't understood the lesson of the loaves? How is it that my heart is hardened toward Jesus?”
What does that mean? What is a hardened heart? I think it means spiritually resistant, fighting against what the word of God is doing. God's pulling you or moving you in a direction, and you're digging in your heels and not going the direction that the word of God wants to take you. That's what it means, like the parable of the seed and the soils, the hardened path. The seed comes and bounces. It doesn't penetrate, and so you're resisting, you're fighting. It's the nature of our sinful hearts.
This condition refers to the condition of the disciples. They hadn't understood the lesson about the loaves. What is that? That's the context here, the feeding of the 5,000, this most recent miracle that they went through that we looked at last time, the feeding of the 5,000. Jesus fed 5,000 men plus women and children with five loaves and two fish. The disciples had been directly involved in that process. They had brought the problem to Jesus. Jesus put it back on them. They couldn't solve it. Jesus miraculously multiplied the loaves and the fish and gave them to the disciples, who then distributed them to the crowd with their own hands. They were involved. They saw matter, material being created out of nothing, out of thin air. They saw it and distributed it to as many as 20,000 or more people. The people kept eating and eating and eating and eating until they were gorged. They were full. They couldn't eat another bite. Incredible. Then they were involved in picking up the broken pieces that were left over, "Let nothing be wasted." They did all that work. They filled twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. They were involved in all of that.
But the text says, the Holy Spirit tells us, they hadn't understood the lesson because their hearts were hardened. What is the lesson? What could it be? That Jesus is the Son of God? There is nothing that is too difficult for him. There's nothing he cannot do. Therefore, they should trust him fully for every condition in their lives. That doesn't sound like anything new. I'm not up here to say new things. I'm up here to say that we need to learn the lesson of the loaves, and indeed the lesson of every miracle: Jesus is almighty God in the flesh who came to earth to save you. He will save you. He will not finish working in you until you are glorified in heaven. Every circumstance of your life has been carefully crafted to that end, and he's ruling over all of it. That's the lesson of the loaves. We need to learn it too.
"Jesus is almighty God in the flesh who came to earth to save you. He will save you. He will not finish working in you until you are glorified in heaven. Every circumstance of your life has been carefully crafted to that end, and he's ruling over all of it. "
Their hearts were hard. They hadn't understood the lesson of the loaves or the earlier stilling of the storm or the driving out of the legion of demons or the woman with the problem, the bleeding problem, for twelve years who touched the hem of his garment and was instantly healed. They hadn't understood that. They hadn't understood the raising of Jairus' dead daughter to life. They hadn't understood all of these things like they should. They could make a confession, a testimony, "You are the Son of God." They could say those words. We all who are claiming to be Christians can make that same kind of testimony, but we don't really understand it. That's the nature of the lesson here. Their hearts were hard so that God still has to draw them to Christ in a deeper way. That's the context of the situation we're looking at here.
Remember the feeding of the 5,000 had just happened. Before that, they had been sent out, the twelve had been sent out on their first mission, their first practice mission trip. They went out two by two, and Jesus had empowered them with a wonder-working, miracle-working power themselves. They were able to drive out demons. They were able to anoint sick people with oil and heal them. They were able to preach that people should repent. They went on that mission, and then they came back and reported to Jesus all the things they had done.
But because the crowds were huge, they continued to be huge, and they couldn't even address any of their physical needs, they couldn't get enough rest or eat or anything, Jesus said to them, "Come away with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." So they went. Also, the context, as we said, was John the Baptist's death, the only account in Mark's gospel that doesn't have anything directly to do with Jesus, but it's important. John the Baptist had been beheaded at the order of wicked King Herod, because he was incited by the lustful dance of a young girl. So John the Baptist was dead.
All of these things had come together. They cross the lake to get alone, to get to a quiet place, but they couldn't escape the crowd. A huge crowd was there. When Jesus landed, He had compassion on them, the text tells us, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So He met all their needs. He taught them many things. He healed their sick, and He fed them. He filled their empty stomachs. He did all of that. “Your needs are met. You're fine. Go home.” So He does that. He sends them away vigorously. Look at verse 45, "Immediately, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him. Then he dismissed the crowds." They're going to Bethsaida. He dismissed the crowd. This is a place where people aren't usually. There's nobody usually here. “You shouldn't be here. It's time to go home. Go. Go away.” So they did.
That crowd that He dismissed, we find out in John 6 was carnal and faithless. By the end of the next day, most of them would leave Jesus and never follow him again because their understanding of the kingdom was purely physical. They wanted another meal. They wanted to take him by force and make him king so He could whip up on the Romans. They had very a carnal attitude toward the kingdom of God. They did not want the spiritual kingdom Jesus came to bring in, a right relationship with almighty God by the forgiveness of their sins through the shedding of his blood on the cross. They didn't want any of that, so they're gone.Jesus sends his disciples away, sends the faithless crowd away, and finally the time has come for Jesus himself to be alone and he's finally alone. He goes up on a mountainside to pray.
II. Jesus’ Powerful Ministry for His Disciples
Part two, we see Jesus's powerful ministry for his disciples. Now he's going to start ministering on behalf of his disciples. Putting Matthew's account together with this account in Mark and the account in John, if you put the three accounts together, there actually are six miracles that Jesus does here on behalf of his disciples. Six of them. We'll walk through them. There are six amazing things that Jesus does to strengthen the faith of his disciples. We're going to see Jesus's supernatural vision of his disciples in their plight. We're going to see, obviously, the central miracle, the one we know about, Jesus walking on the water.
In Matthew's account, Peter comes out of the boat and walks on the water to Jesus, doing something he could never physically do if Jesus did not give him power to do it. Then when he, through unbelief, starts to sink, Jesus immediately reaches out his hand and saves him. Then when He climbs back into the boat, immediately the wind and the waves die down just like earlier. But He doesn't say anything, they just die down. It's pretty obvious though that He has ended the storm.
Then make note of this, John 6:21. You can already start flipping ahead there. Put a bookmark because we're going to go over there, a miracle probably most of you have never seen before. We'll get there. Six miracles, an amazing array of the powers of Jesus. Not just one, but six. The one is amazing enough, people just don't walk on water. We're going to get to that in due time.
All of this though, I want to couch in context of Jesus's ministry to the spiritual condition of his disciples. Yes, they have immediate physical needs. They're in danger again. They're in a storm in the lake, in the sea, and the wind is against them. They're not making progress. There is definitely danger. This time, He's not in the boat with them, so they're in great danger. He's going to care for them, but the text tells us to look above the immediate physical circumstances to their spiritual condition, the hardness of their hearts. Jesus is going to be ministering to their hardened hearts, bringing them to a higher level of faith in Jesus than they'd ever known before, moving from faithless fear to faith-filled adoration. That's the movement of this passage, and hopefully that will happen for us.
It begins with Jesus's prayer time. We don't know what He prayed for or about. We don't have any content of Jesus's prayer, but I do believe that central to it always was the concern that Jesus had for his sheep, for his people, so He would be praying for them, interceding for them. Look at verses 45 - 47. "Immediately, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake and he was alone on land."
Now, Jesus had his own reasons to be alone, to strengthen himself. He loved, as we learned in Mark 1, to go to solitary places and pray, to get away from everyone and be alone and pray. That was his regular habit. He wanted that vertical communion with his Father. He loved to pray. He enjoyed his prayer times, and He got renewed in strength by praying to his Father. Undoubtedly, He was pouring out his grief before his Father over the death of John the Baptist, his cousin, his forerunner, the one predicted in Isaiah the prophet, "A voice of one calling in the desert." This is the one who had been frivolously beheaded by wicked King Herod, and so He wants to pour out that grief. Undoubtedly, also hearing from the Father what He was to do going forward. Jesus made it very plain again and again, "I don't do anything except what the Father has told me to do. I don't speak any words except what the Father's told me to say." We have to imagine a lot of Jesus's daily prayer times were, "What do you want me to do today, Father?" As the servant of the Lord, He listened to his Father and then did what his Father told him to do. So He's doing all of that. But, as I said, we must imagine the centerpiece of his prayer time was the heart condition of his disciples. He must have been asking the Father to soften his disciples' hardened hearts, that they would understand not merely the lesson of the loaves, but all the lessons He was trying to teach them. Jesus is our great high priest. Hebrews 7:24-25 says that Jesus has a permanent priesthood, "Therefore he is able to save to the uttermost," [or to finish the salvation] "of everyone who comes to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father, and that includes especially the gifts of our salvation. Jesus is at the right hand of God and is interceding for you right now and praying for you that your faith will not fail, and that you will get everything you need for the sustaining and growth and development of your faith. More than anything, that's the ministry of the word. He's praying for you at the right hand of God. He is our Great High Priest and is interceding.
We could well imagine Jesus is up there on the mountain praying to the Father for his disciples. "Father, work in these men. Work in them. Their hearts are hardened. They've seen all of these miracles and they have a little faith, but it needs to grow. Father, would you develop their faith? Would you expand it? Enable me now to show my greatness to them that they will trust in me more fully." Something like that..
But then miracle number one, Jesus saw his disciples' danger. Look again, verse 47-48, "When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars because the wind was against them." Now, you have to understand what's going on. By the time He actually walks out to them, we'll talk about this in a minute, it's somewhere between 3:00 and 6:00 AM. It's the middle of the night. It's dark and it's stormy. There are clouds. There's rain, perhaps. There's wind, certainly. They are miles away from him. He's up on a mountain, but it says He saw them.
How do you explain that? How do you explain that He sees that the wind is powerfully against them and that they're trying to row to land but they can't make any headway? You have to realize, at that moment in time, that moment in redemptive history, those twelve apostles were the kingdom of God on earth. They represented where this whole thing was going, and they're in the middle of a sea in a storm in great danger. Jesus sees them. He saw them straining at their oars. How? Well, Jesus is our Good Shepherd. It says in John 10:14, "I am the Good Shepherd. I know my sheep, and my sheep know me."
Prophets just know things supernaturally. I was reading recently the account of the life of Elisha. I don't know if you remember how that time the account in 2 Kings 5, I think it is, where he heals Naaman the Syrian. He's a very powerful, wealthy man who has leprosy. He hears that there's a prophet in Israel, Elisha, who can do amazing things. So he goes, and Elisha tells him to wash seven times in the Jordan River. He eventually does, and he's cured. He tries to pay Elisha for the healing, and Elisha doesn't want anything to do with that. He's on his way back when Elisha's servant Gehazi says, "What do we do?" This is a missed opportunity, a missed business opportunity. So what does Gehazi do? He leaves Elisha and goes running after Naaman the Syrian, catches up with him. Naaman gets down out of his chariot and says, "What can I do for you?" He says, "Well, it turns out some of the prophets have come and they have some needs and all." "Oh," he said, "well, do you need some money?" "Yeah, maybe a talent of silver." He said, "Take two, and take a bunch of clothes." So he gives him all this stuff. Here is Gehazi trucking all this stuff back, hides it all away, and then goes back into the presence of Elisha.Now comes an interesting moment. Elisha, I always picture him not looking at Gehazi as he comes back in the room. He's doing something, over his shoulder he says, "Where did you go, Gehazi?" "Oh, I didn't go anywhere. Stop right there. Do you understand who you're talking to? You're talking to a prophet of God. You don't lie to a prophet of God, you shouldn't lie any time anyway. But this is what Elisha said, "Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from the chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money or accept clothes or olive groves or vineyards, flocks, herds, menservants, maidservants? Well, therefore Naaman's leprosy is going to cling to you and to your descendants forever.' And Gehazi went out leprous, white as snow."
Now, "Was not my spirit with you when that guy got down out of the chariot? I could see it." It's prophetic vision. Jesus is the King of all prophets. He just knows what's going on in your life. He sees everything. It's a miracle. He knows what you're going through right now. He knows what you're thinking right now. He knows everything. He knows the circumstances of your life. That's the first miracle.
"Jesus is the King of all prophets. He just knows what's going on in your life. He sees everything."
Then Jesus goes out to his disciples, verse 48, "About the fourth watch of the night, he went out to them walking on the sea." He knows the incredible danger they're in and He will be with them. Again and again, God says this. He says to Isaac, "I will be with you." He says to Jacob, "I will be with you." He says to Moses, "I will be with you when you go to Pharaoh." After Moses died and Joshua took over, he said, "I will be with you." God said to Gideon, "I will be with you." Jesus said to his disciples, "I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you." Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. "I will be with you." He says it in the Great Commission. "And surely I will be with you even to the end of the age." So his coming out physically ,to physically be with them is ... we're supposed to read it also spiritually. He is with you. He comes out to you.
But as He does, He displays his power over the sea. He's walking on the sea. This is an astonishing miracle of miracles. It's an amazing stormy night, the fourth watch of the night, that’s Roman designation. It seems Mark was writing for a Roman audience. That's somewhere between 3:00 and 6:00 AM. There is no other explanation for this other than a supernatural suspension of the laws of nature. Some unbelieving commentators on this say that Jesus had actually found a floating chunk of ice and was ... I mean, really. Or there was a hidden sandbar all the way out miles out into the middle of the ... I mean, the things that people do. No, Jesus walked on the water.
If I can just tell you something, stuff sinks. Have you ever dived into a pool? You went down. The very next chapter after that whole Elisha and Gehazi thing, some of the guys there are chopping wood with an ax, and the ax head flies off and falls into a lake. They say to Elisha, "It was borrowed." He goes over and he shaves a stick and puts it in there and makes the ax head float. That's a miracle. Ax heads don't float. This is the nature of God. He creates a world that runs by what we generally call the laws of science or the laws of nature. It's why science works because God has established the earth. It can never be moved. What that means is the way things were yesterday is the way things will be today and tomorrow. That's how science works. The experiment you did two weeks ago, if you just set everything up exactly the same way, it'll happen again. That's why we can build a body of knowledge. That is the world we live in. We're used to it. We're not reinventing the wheel like every day ,who knows what's going to happen? You guys are very familiar with the law of gravity. You feel it. You're feeling it right now. It's like, pastor, please don't go over the obvious. The Earth wants to pull you to its center and something stops you called the floor. When you're on water, things are a little different, but you're still heading down that way. There's that buoyancy thing, but buoyancy's different than walking across the water. Jesus does this incredible miracle. Jesus has the power to toggle on and off laws of nature any time. He's above it, He walks above the laws of nature. He usually, I would say almost always, in his incarnation submitted to them like everyone else. What did Jesus do once he finally arrived at his disciples? He got in the boat. What did he use the boat for? Not because he needed it, but that's our normal way of living, and so He steps in and He uses it. But in this particular case, He suspends the law of gravity to walk on water.
Now, He's going to do it again at the end of his time on earth. Remember, after his resurrection. He's going to go outside the city of Jerusalem. He's going to go to the Mount of Olives with his apostles, and they're going to watch him soar up from the surface of the earth higher and higher and higher, until finally a cloud hides him from their sight. Again, He suspended the laws of nature at the ascension. Jesus is over every law.
Now, as He does this,He calms their faithless fears. He's about to pass by them. It says, "But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately, he spoke to them and said, 'Take courage. It is I. Don't be afraid.’" Or, "Take heart. It is I. Don't be afraid." I must tell you, sometimes it's good for a pastor just to say, I don't know because here in the text, I don't know why the text says He meant to pass by them. I find that interesting. If any of you have any theories, come tell me. I basically punted on it. Maybe it's just how He appeared to them, but the text seems to talk about his own intentions. He's intending to pass by them, but when He hears them crying out, He goes to be with them. It's pretty obvious he wants to interact with them.
In any case, when they saw him walking on the water, they were overwhelmed with terror. They know that human beings cannot walk on water, and so they resorted to a common myth of ghosts, of spirit beings, apparitions. Jesus at his bodily resurrection is going to have to drive this same misconception out. He said, "I'm not a ghost. Ghosts don't have flesh and bones as you see I have. Touch me. Touch my body." He ate some broiled fish in front of them because ghosts don't do that either. He has to deal with that, and that's what they're thinking, so He calls out to them. They recognize his face in his voice. He literally says, "Take heart, I am." In the Greek it says “I am.’ All the English translations are going to say, "It is I." But I like” I am” better. Why? That's God's name. That's the lesson of the loaves. Jesus is “I am.” He is almighty God in the flesh. That's who He is. So He says, "Take heart, I am. I am God. Don't be afraid."
Now, in Mark's gospel account, Jesus just gets into the boat at that point. He climbed into the boat with them. Oddly, Mark omits the whole Peter venture. Scholars believe that Mark is Peter's mouthpiece, the number one human source of Mark's information was the Apostle Peter. That may well be. It could be that Peter at that point having been deeply humbled by God over those years, didn't want to present himself as one who also walked on the water. I don't know. I'm just saying it's not in Mark, but it is over in Matthew. So if you want, you can turn over to Matthew 14 and look at 28-31 or just listen. As Jesus is still out there on the sea and says, "Take heart, I am," or, "It is I. Don't be afraid," Peter calls out to him from the boat and says, "Lord, if it's you, tell me to come to you on the waves, on the water." He doesn't take it on himself to do that. But this idea pops in his mind. It's a remarkable idea. Then Jesus gives him a command that he could not follow except that the supernatural power of God came upon Peter. "Come," He said, "Come."
If God gives you a command, then God must empower you to do it. It's no different than Revelation 4, where John sees a doorway open in heaven, and the voice says to John, "Come up here." They're equally miraculous. "Come, Peter, walk on the water. Come John, float up from the surface of the earth and see the future." Those are commands that only God can empower us to do. Peter gets out of the boat, and by the supernatural power of Christ, begins to walk on the water. But the problem is, as he begins the journey out to Jesus, he looks around at the wind and the waves and begins to doubt, and being afraid, he begins to sink and cries out three word prayer, "Lord, save me." Those are effective prayers, by the way. There's no flourishing language here. There's a sense of urgency and need, "Lord, save me." Immediately, Jesus reaches out his hand and grabs hold of him and lifts him up, again by supernatural power. But then He rebukes him and he says, "You of little faith. Why did you doubt?" That's an amazing sub-story in the midst of all of that, and that seems to be the whole work right now at that moment in all of the apostles. "You of little faith. Why did you doubt?"
"If God gives you a command, then God must empower you to do it."
I think it's good for all of us to stand under the same rebuke or correction, to say, “I am of little faith. Now, I'm not of no faith. I'm a Christian, but I am of little faith. Help me not to doubt. Help my unbelief. Help me grow in my understanding of who Jesus is.” But there's still two more miracles to go. Jesus calmed the storm immediately, verse 51. "Then he climbed into the boat with them and the wind died down." Jesus doesn't say anything to the wind and the waves. The disciples must have understood, however, it was Jesus's power that ended that storm. He just thought it, and the storm's over, instantly done as soon as He gets in the boat.
Now, the final miracle’ is in John 6:21. In that account, we have this one statement. By the way, I've shared this with, I think, five people this week. All five of them said the same thing to me, "I've never seen that before." So here you go. Maybe you have. John 6:21, "Then they were willing to take him," [being Jesus], "into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore to which they were heading." Wait, what? What just happened? I don't know. What do you think happened? What happened to the boat? What does the word immediately mean? I looked into it. John doesn't use this word very much. It always means instantly or the very next thing. They were in the middle of the sea, miles from shore, and then suddenly they're not. Does Jesus have that kind of power? Jesus has more power than you can possibly imagine. Does He have the power to move a boat from miles offshore to the shore? Yes, He does.
Do you remember the story of Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch? He's there out in the desert and he shares the gospel with him. Then the eunuch gets baptized. What happened next to Philip? He disappeared. Really? Where did he end up? A place called Azotus, miles away. Now, if you'd been in that boat, wouldn't you be looking around like, wait, what just happened? How did we get here? It's incredible. Jesus has this kind of power over wind, over waves, over the law of gravity, buoyancy. He has this kind of power over every condition on earth. Those are the lessons of the six miracles.
III. The Disciples Moved to Worship Jesus
The disciples then are moved to worship Jesus. Their hearts had been hard, but now they worship. Verse 51- 52. "They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves. Their hearts were hardened." The phrase “completely amazed” means literally “beside themselves.” They're beside themselves with wonder. Matthew tells us what they said. They said, "Truly, you are the Son of God." That's the whole destination of all four gospels. "These miracle accounts are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Son of God and by believing may have life in his name." They're worshiping him.
I do believe that this may have been the basis of their strength and faith in Jesus, which was really shining at the end of the next day. I told you about that faithless crowd that was there for another meal the next day and they wanted to take Jesus by force and make him king and all of those things? He has a long discussion in John 6, and then weeds out the crowd saying, "You have to eat my flesh and drink my blood. If you don't eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you." He says these things that are hard to accept and they all leave. Jesus turns to his apostles and says, "You don't want to leave too, do you?" He said that to the twelve. "Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the holy one of God.'" Jesus said, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? And one of you is a devil." But I think the 11 who genuinely believed, it was this experience that strengthened them and moved them ahead a quantum leap in their understanding of the greatness of Jesus.
IV. Jesus Resumes His Ministry to the Crowds
The account ends with Jesus resuming his ministry to the crowds. "When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. They ran throughout the whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages, towns or countryside, they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch the edge of his cloak. And all who touched him were healed." So this is just, again, a summary statement of a vast number of miracles. John tells us, "I didn't write them all. Frankly, if all of them were written down, the world couldn't contain all the books that would be written." So this is one of those summaries of hundreds, maybe even thousands of miracles.
I also think it's interesting about the hem and the garment. I think it was that woman with the bleeding problem that first did that and maybe news got out, hey, that's a way to get some of that power from Jesus. But it worked. "All those who touched the hem of his garment were healed," it says.
What applications and lessons can we take from this? The Bible is written, as I said, to bring us to saving faith. There is initial saving faith when you finally realize who Jesus is and why He came to earth. He is almighty God in the flesh who was born of the virgin Mary, who lived a sinless life and did all these incredible miracles and taught all these great teachings. Why? Because you needed a Savior. Because you're a sinner. You've broken God's laws daily, hourly, and you stand under the wrath of God. Apart from his saving work, you'll be condemned to hell.
God saw that you couldn't save yourself. There was no way you could save yourself, and so He sent his Son to live this sinless, righteous, perfect life and weave a perfect garment of righteousness that he offers you as a gift to tell you to put on. If you wear that righteousness, that imputed righteousness of Christ, you will survive judgment day and no other way.
Conversely, all of your wickedness and sins and all the things you've done, of which there's a perfect record in heaven, every careless word we have ever spoken is recorded and written down, and you stand under the wrath of God, all of that, Jesus was willing to drink that cup on the cross to die in your place. You trust in him and your sins will be forgiven. Your sins will be forgiven. If that happens to you, you will never be, can never be, more righteous, more forgiven than you are at that first instant.
But then the next part starts, what we call that journey, that voyage of sanctification, of living out your Christian faith in this physical world. That's where these six miracles help us out. First of all, realize Jesus sees you and knows what you're going through all the time. As Isaiah 40 says, "Why do you say, O Israel, and complain, O Jacob, 'My way is hidden from my God?'" It isn't. He sees everything. He knows what you're going through, and He wants you not to be afraid. He wants you not to be anxious. He says, "Fear not. Take heart. I am. I am God." He sees you, and He comes out to you walking on the water. What does that mean? He's orchestrating this whole thing. Even the laws of nature are subservient to Jesus in his desire to save you. Everything is under his feet. He's walking above all of it. He's sovereign and in control of all of the trials of your life.
Thirdly, Peter walks on water. Jesus calls on us to do supernaturally, eternally consequential things, maybe not anointing sick people with oil and healing them or driving out demons. That record was established to show the validity of the apostles' ministry. We don't need to do all those things now, but we can do something even greater. We can share the gospel that is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. Sometimes it feels like it takes as much courage for us to do that as to get out of the boat and walk to Jesus. But what supernatural power is at work in your life to do great things of eternal consequence? So walk on whatever water God has for you to walk on to do the good works he has ordained for you to do by the power of Christ.
Then fourthly, as you're going through that and you start to sink in life through unbelief because you're looking too much at the wind and the waves and you're forgetting Jesus, He has the power to reach out and draw you up. I like that just three word prayer. Pray it as often as you need. "Lord, save me. I'm drowning, I'm sinking, I'm struggling,” and He'll reach out his hand and save you and pull you up.
Fifthly, the storm ends like that. All storms end. You know that any trouble you're having in your life is temporary? Anything that's causing you distress, anything that's crossing you and making you sad or scared or fearful, all of those things, if you're a child of God, all of those things are temporary. They are light and momentary. That's what momentary means. They're not going to go on. You are going to a world where there'll be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain. They're all temporary. At some point when they have done their work in you, the Lord will bring those trials to an end. He will end that storm. Just like that, it'll be over.
Then six, what do I make about this transmutation, this quantum leap of the boat? I'm going to venture out of the boat of sound exegesis here for a minute. It's possible that the rowing against the tide may picture your efforts at sanctification. How's it going? How's your rowing going as you're trying to grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ? Making good progress? Some days better than others. Is there a quantum leap coming for you? There actually is. Whether that's what John 6:21 is talking about or not, I know this, the moment you die, your spirit will be instantly made perfect in conformity to Christ, and you will never sin again with your mind or heart. You will forever love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and you will love your neighbor perfectly. You won't have your resurrection body yet if the Lord hasn't come, but you will be perfected in an instant. Then the second instant that's coming, resurrection. You're going to get a glorified body that will shine forever. The quantum leap is coming. So whatever rowing you're doing, keep doing it. Whatever fighting against wind and tide, it is hard to grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ, the Lord has power to enable you. We have to battle temptations and lusts and struggles, it's true. But that quantum leap is coming. Trust in it.
Close with me in prayer. Lord, we thank you for the things that we've learned today. These six miracles Jesus did are encouraging to us. We pray that you would sustain us as we struggle. Sustain us as we serve. Help us not to give into faithless fear. Help us not to give into anxiety. Help us, oh Lord, to trust in you, to look to you, constantly look to you. Feed our faith by ministry of the word of God. Sustain us and strengthen us. We pray this in Jesus's name. Amen.