16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea,
17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing.
19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened.
20 But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”
21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going. ESV
What is the general theme of the passage?
It had been a labor intensive day organizing a massive crowd miraculously fed as Jesus spoke and taught. The day had excited the crowd. Jesus’s power must mean He was the King they’d been waiting for. It had surely exhausted the disciples and Jesus. Matthew and Mark both mention Jesus giving instructions to His disciples to cross the sea while He stays behind to dismiss the crowd before going off alone to pray. Their Master had given them instructions. I can imagine there was a debate there by the sea about waiting or going, because “Jesus had not yet come to them.” What was supposed to be a short journey to meet Jesus was soon to become an hour’s-long battle of tired men, trying to get to where they had been told to go, as they physically struggled to control their small boat being tossed around by the strong wind, waves and the tides.
What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit)?
Jesus does come to them in the midst of their struggle. He recognizes His presence is needed for both their emotional and physical assurance for a safe landing.
What does it say about people?
Fear is a natural response that makes it hard to recognize Jesus when situations are out of control.
Is there truth here for me?
Even a Jesus-directed journey is not a guarantee of an easy one. Struggle and fear are real but if you can recognize Jesus walking with you in the storm and accept His personal assurance “It is I; do not be afraid” He will give you the courage to “take him into the boat” and you will get to the “the land to which [you are] going.”