January 31, 2021
But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea (Matthew 14:24-25).
The record of Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee is found in Matthew 14:24-33, Mark 6:47-52, and John 6:16-21. After the feeding of the multitude Jesus sent the disciples back to Capernaum, dispersed the crowd for the evening, and went up on the mountain alone to pray. Soon after the disciples set sail across the Sea of Galilee for Capernaum (about a 4 mile trip), a violent storm swept across the water. John 6:19 tells us that the disciples had already rowed 3-4 miles. How could that be since the distance from Bethsaida to Capernaum was about 4 miles? Evidently the storm had driven the boat several miles south from the northern shore to a point near the middle of the Sea (Mark 6:47). Jesus had come down from the mountain and was alone on the shore. It was the ‘fourth watch’ of the night.
In the days of Jesus the night was divided into 4 ‘watches’. Each watch consisted of 3 hours each. The 1st watch was from 6:00 - 9:00 pm (evening), the 2nd was from 9:00 - 12:00 pm (midnight), the 3rd was from 12:00 - 3:00 am (cock crowing), and the 4th watch was from 3:00 - 6:00 am (morning). It was in the 4th watch of the night that Jesus went to the disciples walking on the Sea.
The text tells us the disciples in the boat were be ‘tossed’ by the waves because the wind was ‘contrary’. Literally the boat was being ‘tortured’ (beaten) by the high waves and the wind was ‘opposite’ (strongly against; antagonistic) them. There were no motors on boats back then. If there was a sail on the boat it was useless. Even manning the rudder was futile. The disciples were at the mercy of the storm - or were they?
Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will (Matthew 10:29). There is comfort in knowing that just as our heavenly Father knows about the sparrows and their welfare, He knows about us as well. Did Jesus know the disciples were in danger out on the Sea? Of course He did. It was after 3:00 in the morning. A storm brewing. It was dark. The disciples in the boat were several miles away from where Jesus was, but He could see them just as He saw Nathanael sitting under a fig tree (John 1:48). He was fully aware of their situation just as He was aware that Lazarus had died while He was still several miles away from Bethany (John 11:7-14).
You will never find yourself in a situation, facing a difficult issue, threatened by man, beast, or nature, that Jesus is not fully aware of what is going on. I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Bank on it.
“Thank You, Lord, for the promise of Your presence with me wherever I am, whatever I may face. Your promise of presence, protection, provision, and peace gives me great comfort as I live and serve You today. To Your praise and glory I pray, Amen.”