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Jesus Walks on Water, Calms the Sea

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Jesus Walks on Water and Calms the Sea



Welcome to a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Two significant events from the Bible took place out on the water. Here are the highlights.

  • Jesus calms a storm on a boat ride from Capernaum to the country of the Gadarenes, where He healed two demon-possessed men. One of these men had a legion of demons in him whom Jesus cast into a herd of pigs, and they ran down a steep hill into the sea (Matthew 8:23-27). 

  • The next account involves Jesus calming a storm and walking on the water. We'll focus on this account here (Matthew 14:22-36). 



1. This miracle occurred in the middle of the widest part of the sea. John 6:19 suggests it was about 3–4 miles (5.5 km.) from the eastern shore. The sea is about 8 miles (13 km.) wide at its widest part, which would place them in the middle of the sea.


2. They were also far from land (Matt. 14:24). This means they were far from the northern part of the seashore as well.


Historical Background


1. The disciples had just returned from an amazing time of preaching and healing throughout Israel (Christ had sent them out two by two).


2. Jesus took them to the eastern side of the sea, south of Bethsaida, to rest. However, instead of resting, a large crowd gathered, and Jesus taught them all day and then fed them. There were 5,000 men, not counting women and children, present, which means there were probably 15,000–20,000 people or more in total.


3. After Christ fed the multitude, they wanted to make Him King by force (John 6:15). However, what they had in mind was an earthly kingdom wherein the Romans would be overthrown, and Jesus would return them to their glory days. This was prophesied in Scripture, but Christ’s earthly kingdom would not be realized until His second coming.


4. The disciples were caught up in the frenzy of the crowd’s desire to make Jesus King, so He immediately sent them away by boat to the other side of the sea.


5. The disciple’s hearts were hard, and Scripture says they didn’t learn anything from the feeding of the 5,000 (Matt. 16:5–12).


6. After feeding the 5,000, Jesus went up on a mountain to pray. He likely prayed that His disciples would learn the lesson of faith He was about to teach them. This lesson would involve sending a storm and revealing His deity to them.


7. Jesus purposefully allowed them to reach a state of utter disaster, fear, and desperation so that what He was about to teach them would sink in deeply.


8. The narrative of Scripture would place the disciples sailing from the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee to the western shore.


Places of Interest (Please See Maps Above)


1. Feeding of the 5,000 location
2. Mountain upon which Jesus prayed
3. Departure beach
4. Bethsaida
5. Capernaum
6. Place Jesus walked on water
7. Gennesaret
8. Sea of Galilee


Jesus Walks on Water and Calms the Sea in the Bible


1. Immediately after feeding the 5,000, Jesus sent His disciples to the other side of the sea.

Matthew 14:22: Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.


Mark 6:45: Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.


John 6:16–17: When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum.


The summary of these verses indicates that they were headed east to the other side of the sea.


2. Jesus went up on a mountain to pray.
Matthew 14:23: And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.


3. Jesus sends a strong storm.
Matthew 14:24: But the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them.
Mark 6:48: And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them.
John 6:17–18: It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing.


4. Jesus comes to the disciples walking on the sea.
Matthew 14:25: And in the fourth watch of the night [3:00–6:00 am] he came to them, walking on the sea.
John 6:19: When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat.


5. The disciples become terrified.
Matthew 14:26: But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" and they cried out in fear.


6. The emotional state of the disciples:


  • They were already exhausted from their ministry of being sent out two by two.

  • They had a long day of ministry.

  • They rowed all night in a state of panic and desperation.

  • They missed a night of sleep.

  • It was still dark, so it was probably around 4:00 am.

  • They feared for their lives.

  • They were alone.

  • It was dark.

  • They were terrified when they saw Jesus walking on the sea. 


7. Jesus spoke to them.
Matthew 14:27: But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take heart; it is I [I AM, in Greek]. Do not be afraid."


8. Peter walks on the water for a moment.
Matthew 14:28–31: And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." 29 He said, "Come. "So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me." 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"


9. The disciples worship Jesus as Lord and Messiah.
Matthew 14:32–33: And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." 


Mark 6:52: And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded.


This miracle was a major turning point in the lives of the disciples. The deity of Jesus was now deeply embedded in their hearts and lives, and they would never be the same.


10. Jesus and the disciples miraculously arrive at the other side of the sea at Gennesaret.

John 6:21: Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.


11. After already being exhausted and missing a night of sleep, they had more ministry awaiting them.
Matthew 14:34–36: And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36 and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.


Faith Lesson from Jesus Walking on Water and Calming the Sea


1.  Jesus embedded in the lives of His disciples that He was God. Do we believe in the deity of Christ and that He was God in the flesh?


2. Like Peter and the disciples, are we of little faith sometimes?


3. Like the disciples, we are often surrounded by serious problems. Do we realize Jesus cares for us during our storms?


4. Like the disciples, we can often feel tired and alone in our trials and problems. Do we understand that we are not alone and that God is caring for us?


5. Peter walked on the water for a moment and then took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the storm. Therefore, he sank into the water. Do we understand that to navigate the storms in our lives, we must keep our eyes on Jesus despite the raging problems around us?


6. Jesus sent the storm to teach His disciples who He was and their need for faith in Him. Do we understand that Jesus also sends us storms to teach us the same truths?


7. Jesus and the disciples often had long days of exhausting ministry. Are we willing to do the same? 


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