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The Scriptorium

Jesus on Board

The disciples are afraid, then relieved.

The Gospel of John: John 6.1-21

Read and meditate on John 6.19b-21.

The disciples see Jesus coming. They’re obviously afraid. Then Jesus speaks to them, and a collective “Duh!” rises from the boat. Aren’t these disciple a lot like us?

                         Then Jesus came to them,
and He was walking on the sea! When Him
they saw, they were afraid. 20But He said, “Do
not be afraid, for it is I.” 21They knew
Him then, and took Him in the boat. Then they
arrived at land, right where they planned to stay.

- John 6.19b-21

1.  The disciples were afraid because they saw something they could not explain. Are there any aspects of your faith that you can’t explain? Should that make you fearful? Explain. Complete the following brief prayer: Lord, I don’t need to understand or be able to explain everything. Instead, I can…

2.  Jesus didn’t calm the sea, apparently; and He didn’t help them row to shore. Was this another test? What was Jesus testing them for here? What did He want them to learn? When I think about You walking on water, Lord, I understand that…

3.  How would you describe Jesus’ experience of interacting with the stormy sea? How was that possible? Twelve strong men are tugging at oars, going nowhere, and one single Man is walking on the water, drawing near the boat! What are the disciples thinking about now? Is Jesus still this same Person? What stormy waves in your life might He help you glide over safely? Lord, I just don’t think about You when I need to, like when…

4.  Note that Jesus’ words led the disciples to willingly receive Him into the boat. Should we expect Jesus’ words to have that kind of effect on us? Why or why not? As I read Your Word, Lord, make me willing to…

5.  Comment on Jesus’ words to the disciples. They obviously were afraid. Should they have been? Of what? But Jesus contrasts being afraid with “It is I…” How does Jesus dispel our fears? Which fears? Bring together your prayers from questions 1-4 into one prayer.

“And how does Jesus come to the disciples? He comes walking upon the waves, keeping all the swellings of the world under his feet, pressing down all of humanity’s pride. And so it continues, so long as time endures, so long as the ages roll. Tribulations increase, all these swell and mount up: Jesus passes on treading upon the waves. And yet, so great are the tribulations that even those who have trusted in Jesus and who strive to persevere to the end greatly fear lest they fail.… But they open the gospel, they open the Scriptures and find all these things there foretold; that this is the Lord’s doing. He tramples down the heights of the world that he may be glorified by the humble.” Augustine (354-430 AD)

By the way, if “immediately the boat was at the land where they were going” (NKJV) as Jesus got in, why did He bother to get in the boat? Was there something important about their willingly receiving Him? Does faith always need some form of expression?

Closing Prayer
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19.7-14

Psalm 19.7-14 (St. Christopher: Beneath the Cross of Jesus)
The Law of God is perfect, His testimony sure;
The simple man God’s wisdom learns, the soul receives its cure.
God’s Word is right, and His command is pure, and truth imparts;
He makes our eyes to understand; with joy He fills our hearts.

The fear of God is cleansing, forever shall it last.
His judgments all are true and just, by righteousness held fast.
O seek them more than gold most fine, than honey find them sweet;
Be warned by every word and line; be blessed with joy complete.

Who, Lord, can know his errors? O keep sin far from me!
Let evil rule not in my soul, that I may blameless be.
O let my thoughts, let all my words, before Your glorious sight,
Be pleasing to You, gracious Lord, acceptable and right!
T. M. Moore

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, can help you gain a better overall understanding of the focus, themes, narrative, flow, and application of God’s Word. Study at your own pace in this free, online course. For more information or to register, click here.

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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