13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 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, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 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. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 28 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?” 32 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.” 34 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.
A few thoughts for meditation:
1) What is our typical response when needy people crowd into our lives at unexpected times? Is it compassion or annoyance? How did Jesus respond?
2) When resources are scarce and the need is great, do those limitations hinder Jesus from providing what we need? When we feel at the end of our own ability to help others, can Jesus still help us to do it?
3) Twice, Jesus tried to get some time alone to pray during a heavy ministry load (vs. 13, 23). If the perfect Son of God needed time alone to pray, how much more do we need it? What better time to spend time in pray than now, when you are not allowed to go anywhere else, and the needs around us are so great?
4) The disciples struggled to sail during a storm at night on the rough waters. How would you have responded to see a man walking toward you on the rough water at nighttime? When Jesus enabled Peter to walk on the water too, in the midst of the rough storm, how would you have responded? When the storm stopped immediately after Jesus got into the boat, how would you have responded? How did the disciples respond? (vs. 33).
5) What was Jesus teaching the disciples about himself through these supernatural experiences of healing and control over nature? What has it taught you about the character, identity, and ability of Jesus?