John 6: 16-21
Acts 6:1-7 / Ps 33
It is I; Don’t be afraid.
When trials bring us to the brink,
And we begin to think life’s unfair,
Why should we fear that we will sink?
Be of good cheer, Christ will be there.
When evening came, Jesus’ disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. (John 6:16-21)
After feeding the five thousand, Jesus sent the apostles off to Capernaum by boat, but did not go with them. This was probably to divert the attention of the multitude of people who wanted to force Jesus to become their king (Jn.6:15); and/or because Jesus wanted to spend some time alone in the mountain to pray. When it was dark enough not to be seen by the crowds, Jesus followed His apostles, by walking on the waters of the lake. He caught up with them just in time, as they were by now at the end of their strength, struggling with big waves stirred up by strong winds. Upon seeing Jesus, the apostles were at first terrified, thinking they were seeing an apparition (Mk.6:49). But the soothing voice of the Master (“It is I; don’t be afraid”) calmed them as well as the storm (Mk.6:51).
Jesus took the occasion to walk on the water to make His apostles see that He was indeed the Son of God. Some of them would have recalled a passage from the Book of Job, 9:8, which reads, “He alone stretches out the heavens, and treads upon the crests of the sea”; or Psalm 107:29-30: “The Lord hushed the storm to a murmur; the waves of the sea were stilled. They rejoiced that the sea grew calm, that God brought them to the harbor they longed for.” Only God could do these things.
; Today’s Gospel reminds us that whatever storms in life may come our way, we have nothing to fear, because our Lord will surely come at the right time to assure us that we will not sink. He may allow us for a time to struggle with an ordeal to make us strong, or to make us realize how weak we really are without His help. But when we have reached the end of our rope, or nothing seems to work, we can always rely on His help. Psalm 46 assures: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psa 46:1-3). God’s help is as reliable, as Jesus is real. He is not just an illusion or some figment of the imagination.
Lord Jesus, how many times have I wavered in my faith in You whenever storms rock my life? And yet, how patiently you keep coming back to me in answered prayers. Let me walk with You, Lord, teach me not to fear, to walk on water or on fire. Though in my faith I am still a child, I believe that Your Spirit will grow in me, and I will soon walk in Your ways. Walk with me always that I may learn to trust You more, and be patient in times of trials. Amen.