The Walking on Water Story

This story puzzles me. Maybe you have some ideas.

John 6:
“1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee…
3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near.”

In the previous chapter he WAS in Jerusalem at one of the Jewish festivals! Why did Jesus and the disciples walk 100km to the northern side of the Sea of Galilee when the Passover was near? They should have stayed in or near Jerusalem.

OK, then Jesus feeds the five thousand and withdraws to the mountains.

Now onto the next story:

“16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 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. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.? 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.”

First of all, the “far shore of the Sea of Galilee” would have been about 4km from Capernaum – either on the East or in the South-West. Check the map here.

From the South-West one can walk to Capernaum through the plains, there are very few mountains, so they probably went to the East coast. Hence v16 says they “set off across the lake for Capernaum”.

Then v19 says, the disciples “had rowed about three or four miles” when they saw Jesus coming walking on the water. And when he gets into the boat they IMMEDIATELY reach the shore.

Here I have a problem with the story. About 4 miles is exactly the distance between the “far shore” and Capernaum. So they were already at Capernaum when Jesus came to them! No miracle in reaching the shore. Why did they have to take him into the boat when he could have just walked ashore – probably faster than they were rowing? They would have been rowing pretty slowly if Jesus caught up with them on foot.

And why is it that the disciples left him behind when they followed him everywhere? They left without him. The rough waters may also mean cloudy night, that is, no starts and no moon on the sky to provide direction. Why would anyone want to travel by boat at night in pitch dark? Why is it that when Jesus realised he missed the boat he didn’t just catch another? Walking 4 miles on water at night, especially on rough waters is not much fun.  And when he reached them, why did he get into the boat when they were already near Capernaum?

And how does this event glorified the Father, which was the prime goal of Jesus?


Leave a response »

Leave a comment, a trackback from your own site or subscribe to an RSS feed for this entry. Trackback URL for this entry Comments feed for this entry

Leave a response

Leave a URL