The Person, Posture, and Patience of Jesus.

John writes his gospel with the purpose of proving that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, so that we might believe, and in believing, that we might have life through His name. John places a discourse of teaching before or after each of the miracles he writes about. John 6:16-21 includes two of four miracles that occur in this account. Other details, including the other two miracles, are found in the parallel accounts in Matthew 14 and Mark 6. In both the feeding of the 5,000 and this passage of John 6:16-21, we see that God is Provider, providing food and safety to His people. Jesus is Jehovah-Jireh in the flesh (John 6:35).

The Person of Jesus

Each member of the Godhead is a person with a personality. Jesus is the indivisible demonstration of the person of God in a human body. Jesus cares for the spiritual, emotional, and physical wellbeing of His people, often leading His disciples to a secluded place for rest and prayer. He does this for Himself as seen in the parallel accounts of John 6:16-21. Jesus understands how active ministry takes a physical, emotional, and spiritual toll on any person who is sincerely involved. He realizes the need for physical rest and emotional and spiritual refreshment through seasons of prayer for all who faithfully follow Him.

Jesus sets an example for us to follow in the pattern of personal refreshment and prayer. Ministry opportunities will distract us away from time needed to pray and rest. Jesus and His frail, weak disciples found their way to worship and into service of the gospel. The grace of God in Christ Jesus will direct us towards worship and service among the people of God here at Grace Church.

Active worship and service among the people of God will exhaust us without prayer and relaxation. We may be worn out and spent, not because we are too busy in worship and service, but because we have not been disciplined in prayer and rest. Any ministry without prayer and rest will prove to be too much. The only way we can determine if we are truly balanced in our approach to worship and service is if we are taking time to rest and spending time with God in personal prayer. In that environment, God directs our steps and balances our load.

When we read all three parallel accounts of Jesus in this situation, we find essential elements to the personal, spiritual, and emotional care of both Jesus and His disciples added by Matthew, Mark, and John. Jesus directs His exhausted disciples to get into the boat ahead of Him and go to Capernaum while He sends away the crowds. How kind, compassionate, and gracious Jesus is to these people. Before and after the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus and His disciples find rest and seclusion and prayer. Do not seek to minister without prayer and rest.

The Posture of Jesus

The posture of Jesus is the position or stance He takes with His disciples and those He serves. With conviction, Jesus rushes into the mountain after He has fed the people because they are forcing themselves upon Him to make Him king (John 6:15). Jesus takes a stand here, knowing He must first be the Lamb of God who will take away the sins of the world. He knows in time that He will be King of Kings over all the earth. Jesus did not come into the world to politically, socially, academically, or financially set the world in order. Jesus came to save.

Our posture must be the same as His. As much as we would like to clean up this world, we cannot do it. Our goal and purpose should be the teaching, preaching, and living of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ among our flock and in our communities. The world and its lusts are passing away (1 John 2:17). We cannot clean up the world and still preach and live the gospel of Jesus Christ at the same time. We need to weep, pray, and be burdened for those living in sin. We are to pray for, not fight, the social disorder on this earth. Those lost ones need our mercy, pity, and love. They need to be reached for Christ, for only Jesus can save and change a person.

When the anger of Jesus was put on display, it was against the religious ones who sought to make Him king, who wanted Him to change the political, social, academic, and financial order of the world. However, Jesus knew He must be the sacrifice for sin for the whole world, never second-guessing His posture towards God or those who needed Him as Savior. Jesus was secure in who He was and why He had come. As His people, we need to be growing towards that same realization, why God saved us and what we are supposed to be doing.

While Jesus is praying on the mountain, a great wind comes from the west and rushes down upon the Sea of Galilee. It is between three and five in the morning. Battered by waves, franticly rowing, and terribly frightened, the disciples are in the middle of the sea, only halfway to their destination. Amid the chaos, they see something which they believe is a ghost and cry out in fear. The gospel of Mark tells us that Jesus was taking a leisurely walk on the water, like He intended to pass right by the disciples. Jesus responds to them, demanding they stop being afraid. The grammar literally says, ‘Stop being afraid, I AM.’ The disciples understand what Jesus has said: I AM the self-existent God of eternity. I AM your Creator. I AM the Creator of the heavens and the earth and the waters upon which I trample. Be still and know that I AM God.

Truly, Jesus has everything under control. The Son of God is always aware and capable to settle and to assist. As the disciples realize that it is Jesus, Peter asks to step out onto the waters with Him. After a couple steps and becoming afraid, Peter starts to sink and cries out for Jesus, who takes hold of him. When Jesus and Peter are back in the boat, the disciples worship Jesus as the Son of God. As they worship, two things happen in a moment. The storm stops, and immediately they are on shore right where Jesus had told them to go. Those are the four miracles of this one sign account: Jesus walks on water, Peter is allowed to do the same, the storm is calmed, and all are on shore in a moment. The posture of Jesus is to provide safety for His people as they seek to do His will in an undistracted way.

The Patience of Jesus

Mark records that the disciples’ hearts were hardened after feeding the 5,000. It had been a long day; they were tired and frustrated and still not realizing who Jesus is and why He has come. Jesus is patient with their stubbornness and their lack of patience with Him. He is patient with them thinking He was a ghost instead of Himself. He is patient with their fear and lack of faith. He is patient to place them right where He intended them to go that they might keep on serving Him. Jesus is patient with us as we seek to do His will His way.

Application Points

  • Is Jesus enough for you spiritually, emotionally, and physically? He is the I AM in all those areas and would have you depend on Him.
  • Are you distracted by trying to cleanup this world? God would have you burdened and praying for the lost, living the gospel before them and teaching it with love.
  • Are you trying to minister and serve without the discipline of intentional prayer and rest? Jesus’s example makes clear the necessity of time set apart for prayer and personal refreshment for continued faithful service.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Matthew 14:22–33; Mark 6:45–52 - Parallel passages to John 6:16-21