In Mathew chapter fourteen, Jesus had been preaching for a long time (sometimes preachers can be a little long-winded if we really have something to say. Others just talk!) and it was well past store closing hours. The people had come a long way to hear him and were hungry, so He fed them! It is simple! Actually, He created the setting and the disciples fed the people. Think of it. Matthew says that 5000 men and an unknown number of women and children were fed and there was enough left over to feed the disciples and the boy who sowed the seed. He did not give them scraps but good edible portions.
In Matthew 14:22, Jesus insisted that the disciples get into a boat—for a specific purpose. He wanted them on the other side of the water. God works to a plan—His and we need to find out at all times what that plan is and get alongside that.
He went to the mountain to pray and spend quality time with the Father to receive His next ministry assignment and to build Himself up! The disciples were out there on the water. Many of them were professional fishermen. They knew about boats. They knew about fishing, especially fishing at night. They could read the weather, but this time something unusual happened!
I believe that the storm that hit them came up so suddenly it took them by surprise! The question remains, “Why?” I shall deal with this soon.
At around 3am, Jesus caught up with the boat. He had been praying, so was “charged up” and had an assignment, so He walked down the mountain and just kept walking towards His objective. I hope you see something here. He had an assignment. That was His objective and nothing was going to stop Him from reaching it.
His objective was Bethsaida. There were crowds of people there who were sick, many of them bedridden. Everywhere He went, people carried their sick folk out on their beds and into the streets so that they could receive their healing. Some of them asked if they could touch the border of His garment. That’s all they wanted and everyone who touched Him was healed. See Mark 6:45-56.
When we read such bible stories, we need to link them all together. One flows into another, because the gospel accounts give testimonies of what happened. In Mark chapter 4, Jesus had been teaching three different groups of peoples and then got into a ship to open a branch of His ministry as we shall see later, came back by ship—yet again—raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead, met the woman who had the issue of blood (see my story of “The woman who stopped God”), fed the 5000 and then went to the “other side” as per our present story.
I now want to show you something very intriguing. Mark says that the disciples were in that boat, “Toiling in rowing, for the wind was contrary to them”. The son of friends of mine rows. Sculling is his chosen sport and he is good at it, winning medals in various championships. I’ve watched him and if he were my own son, I would be very proud of him. It is hard work! I once saw how his hands were blistered. That’s toiling in rowing for sure, but those disciples were up against something very different. The Greek word is basanizō that describes someone in great distress, pain, torment and vexation. It is derived from another word that talks about torture!
The word used for rowing in this instance is elaunō (not in my friend’s case). This is a kind of obsolete word of unknown origin, but relates to being pushed by wind or oars, to carry or drive and...dæmoniacal power!
I never assume things; never take what others say for granted and always check things out for myself and I don’t care who is preaching! I say it often and quote Acts 17:11 in the process, so you check me out too! I’ve seen this story scores of times and it fascinated me because their journey was not all that far really. My sculling friend could row it! It is not as if they were crossing the Mediterranean or something. They were sailing up the shoreline (a distance of approximately 5Km) and other people were following by foot to catch up with the Lord. I asked questions like, “How come it took so long for experienced seamen to go such a short distance and what happened?” The answer is in elaunō. The enemy tried to sink them. He did not want Jesus to heal so many people. Perhaps he mistakenly thought that Jesus was in the boat too. After all, the devil is not as smart as people give him credit for. He is dumb really. He has no access to revelation knowledge but we do. He does not possess any of God’s attributes of being all-knowing, ever present and all powerful and he is a created fallen angel!
We are sons of God by adoption! How good is that!
This is my personal opinion of course, but I base it on study and what I believe is an answer to prayer for revelation. The devil tried to kill all of them as he aways wants to do and saw an opportunity to take them out (again). If, according to his mentality, he could sink that ship, everything that Jesus was to do shortly after would be stopped there and then. He tried this again in our following story.
Now the Lord had one thing on His mind. He had received His assignment from the Father and as far as He was concerned, it was merely a formality in getting there and getting it done. So, off He went, strolled down the hill to the seashore—and just kept going! He had the distant shore in His sight and on the way, passed by the disciples in that boat.
He was not going to stop. I draw your attention to His early words to them, “Follow me”.
I do believe that He expected them to get out of the boat—all 12 of them and follow Him!
He was going from one bible story into the next and just kept going.
He was not going to abandon anyone.
He wanted to show them all something and only one man saw it.
That man was Peter. We talk of him as rash, brash, crude, rude, uneducated and the man who denied Jesus 3 times, but he was the only one who declared Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the living God in Matthew 16:16 and declared He had the words of eternal life in John 6:68.
In the midst of that raging storm, all of Jesus’ disciples were scared, wet, cold, confused and had forgotten what Jesus had said,
“I’ll see you on the other side!”
Jesus already saw Himself on the other side, so kept going and, as He drew near the ship, they saw Him and panicked into thinking it was a spirit. I once thought that they thought Jesus was that spirit, but stopped to think. Was it Jesus they saw, or the demonic force trying to kill them? I do not know really, but am thinking this was so. When Peter saw the Lord, he wanted to know if it was Jesus or not.
I’ve had some instances when I saw “something” and wanted to make sure. This may be one purpose for the Gift of discerning of spirits in 1 Corinthians 12:10.
I’ve had instances when I wanted to make sure who was talking to me and this is very real and perfectly valid. There are many voices out there all clamoring for our attention. If we do not recognize the Good Shepherd’s voice, we could be deceived, so get to know His voice and get to know what God says in His word.
Jesus was so close He saw that they were afraid and immediately spoke to them.
But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. Matthew 14:27.
What I will share now will rock your boat! The original text states, “I Am is here!” The “great I Am was right there beside the boat, in the middle of a dæmoniacally driven storm. My friend, no matter where you are or what is happening to you—He is there! If He is there, something is really happening and so in a sense, you can thank Him for that storm.