Summary of passages: Matthew 14:22-36: After feeding the 5000, Jesus made the disciples go ahead of him in a boat while he dismissed the crowds. Then he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. The boat was a distance away from shore so Jesus walked on the water to get to the boat. The disciples thought Jesus a ghost and were afraid. Peter decides to ask the ghost to allow him to walk on water if the ghost is really Jesus. So Peter does. But Peter becomes afraid, loses faith, and starts sinking. Jesus then grabs him and reprimands him for his lack of faith.
Then the disciples worshipped Jesus and declared him the Son of God. They reached Gennesaret on the other side of the Sea of Galilee where the people recognized Jesus and brought him their sick, which he healed.
Mark 6:45-56: Mark reveals that the disciples were straining against the oars so Jesus was about to walk by them when they were all terrified. Jesus told them to not be afraid and he climbed in their boat. They were amazed for they had not understood about the loaves and had hardened hearts. All throughout the region people came and the sick were healed.
10a) He went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.
b) Mark says that after the feeding of the 5000 miracle, the crowds began to believe him to be the Prophet so Jesus, knowing they intended to come and force him to be king, withdrew to a mountain by himself.
11a) Jesus preached to a huge crowd in Bethesaida and fed them all and healed them all.
b) Both just as we are to do.
c) He prayed probably for strength in his ministry and to commune with the Father. He probably thanked him for the strength and healing powers he had, the ability to do his Father’s will, and for his needs being fulfilled. He probably asked for more people to heal and for more strength to persevere to the end.
d) Personal Question. My answer: Thank God for everything: my needs being met and my desires; for all my blessings. I will ask for the ability to continue in His work and pray for others and their needs as well.
Conclusions: I’m wondering why we didn’t read John’s take on the walking on water (John 6:16-24) but we read John’s reasoning for Jesus’ seeking solitude. I’m confused especially since we read all the passages in the previous days.
John’s is significantly different than Matthew and Mark’s. Would have liked to have explored that instead of questions on prayer that although helpful for new believers are intuitive for believers who are close to God.
[Note: We read John’s take tomorrow; however, in my opinion, the passage is still left thoroughly unexplored.]
End Notes: John just mentions this passingly but this is extremely important: after the miracle of feeding the 5000, the crowd was probably in an uproar, excited and agitated for what was to come. Jesus just provided bread as God had done, the first sign many of these people had of him. Think of mob mentality and how easy it is to get caught up in the emotion of the moment. Jesus and his disciples had to escape before it got out of hand. It was not yet time to reveal himself as the Messiah and Jesus still had much work to do. He couldn’t afford to get derailed here.
The fourth watch of the night would have been somewhere between 3 and 6 am. We can assume Jesus was praying that entire time.
Peter’s walk is a picture of faith. He believes in Jesus and follows him but the moment he began to doubt Jesus and his ability to save him, Peter began to sink. But Peter called out to Jesus for rescue and protection and Jesus answered. So it is with us as well. Even if we are sinking, salvation is there, waiting for us to take it by the hand.
We can learn from Jesus when he asks Peter, “Why did you doubt?” We should ask ourselves the same question for our doubt is often ill-founded. We must examine ourselves so the next time we trust instead of doubt. For with God, there is NO reason to doubt.
John tells us that as soon as Jesus got in the boat, “immediately the boat reached the shore”.
So did Jesus land in Gennesaret as Matthew and Mark say or Capernaum as John says? It’s hard to say. Gennesaret was also a region as well as a town in Jesus’ day. Scholars don’t really know mainly because they don’t really know the exact location of these towns and the borders of the regions. Here’s two sites I found helpful but ambiguous in answering the question: