Do Not Be Afraid

It is I; do not be afraid

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Do Not Be Afraid

John 6:18-21 Do Not Be Afraid

JOHN 6:18-21  18 Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. 19 So when they had rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia, 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 willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

How far is "twenty-five or thirty stadia" (John 6:19)?
One stadion (singular of stadia) = the length of a sports stadium at the time = 600 Greek feet. The average size of a person's foot varied in different parts of the Greek world so the length of one Greek foot was debated but was generally around 30 centimeters. So, 1 stadion = 600 Greek feet = 600 x 0.3 meters = 180 meters, and 25 stadia = 25 x 180 meters = 4.5 kilometers = 2.8 miles, while 30 stadia = 30 x 180 meters = 5.4 kilometers = 3.4 miles. Therefore, they had rowed about 3 miles or 5 kilometers.

Is this the full account or the abbreviated account?
The abbreviated. A fuller account is in Mark 6:47-51: "47 Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. 48 Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea and would have passed them by. 49 And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost and screamed, 50 for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled." And an even fuller account is in Matthew 14:23-33: "23 And when He had sent the crowd away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was now many stadia away from the land, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they screamed in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God."

How many miracles are in these accounts in John, Mark and Matthew?
At least six.

What are they?
1. Jesus saw them "straining at rowing" (Mark 6:48) even though it was the middle "of the night" (Matthew 14:25) and they were "about twenty-five to thirty stadia" (John 6:19) from the shore (and Jesus was farther inland than being on the shore).
2. Jesus walks "on the sea." (John 6:19, Mark 6:48, Matthew 14:25)
3. Jesus has Peter walk "on the water." (Matthew 14:29)
4. Jesus reaches out to Peter from a distance. Imagine yourself walking on water but starting to sink. If the person who can keep you from sinking is close by, you would just grab onto him or lunge to grab onto him; you wouldn't verbally request his help. The fact that Peter "cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30) indicates that Jesus was some distance away and indeed "stretched out His hand" to catch Peter. (Matthew 14:30)
5. Jesus ceases the wind. (Mark 6:51, Matthew 14:32)
6. Jesus took the boat to land miles away “immediately.” (John 6:21)

When did Peter began to sink?
When he took his eyes off Jesus and instead focused on the adversity around him (Matthew 14:30).

What three lessons can we draw from this?
1. When all hell breaks lose around you, keep your focus locked onto Jesus.
2. Instead of praying for the waves and the winds to die down, ask Jesus to enable you to keep walking.
3. "Straining at rowing" (Mark 6:48) without Jesus onboard is futile.

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