John 6:16-21 – Lesson #63

In a typical classroom we listen to an instructor, record notes, read textbooks, and work through assignments. At the prescribed time, determined by the instructor, we are given an exam which indicates where we are strong as well as where we need more disciplined study. God’s classroom is similar, but the process of examination can be quite different.

The disciples had been instructed and experienced wonderful success in ministry, but Jesus knew they had missed some important truths. Could they apply what they were preaching into their own life? To make His point clear, Jesus gave the disciples an exam when over 5000 people were gathered; “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” (John 6:5). Would they trust and apply their instruction when life presented a real challenge? After Jesus miraculously fed the gathered crowd, He gave the next portion of the exam.

John 6:16-21
“Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. But He said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.”

The gathered crowd wanted to “take Him by force to make Him king” (John 6:15) so Jesus “made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side” (Matthew 14:22). Jesus desired to protect His disciples from all the talk of making Him king since they were often tempted by thoughts of power and rule. But He also desired to continue the teaching process.

Though these were experience fishermen, they could not predict the great storm which was soon upon them – but Jesus knew and He saw their struggle; “He saw them straining at rowing” (Mark 6:48). Why were the disciples sent into the storm? It wasn’t the result of disobedience, like Jonah when he ran for Tarshish; “But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea” (Jonah 1:4). The disciples were being obedient and yet in a bad storm because their Teacher loved them enough to continue their instruction. In the middle of the storm, and in the midst of their struggles, Jesus showed Himself in a miraculous way and simply said, “It is I; do not be afraid.” The Good Shepherd then lovingly guided His flock to “where they were going.”

I truly wish we could learn all we need by just reading the book – but we can’t! To know Christ means to know Him through our experience, to know how His truths are applied in daily situations. His Word says He can be trusted, but we can’t really know this truth until we’ve been put to the test through our trials. God loves us so much that He uses all possible means to continue our education. Let’s trust His method of instruction and learn to rejoice as we pass through our examination of storms.

Have a Great Day!

Steve Troxel
God’s Daily Word Ministries