The Background Noise

When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. John 6:16-21

This is a curious set of actions leading up to Jesus walking on the water. Obviously Jesus had told them that he’d meet them in Capernaum. Then when the storm raged on, Jesus went out to meet them on the water. How he made it so quickly to the boat in the middle of a storm is anybody’s guess.

Were the disciples frightened because of the storm or because they saw what looked like a ghost approaching them . . . or both? The scene is fairly comical if you think about it. The disciples are trying to keep their boat afloat and they see someone approaching them on the water. Were they super tired from the day and perhaps they were just sleeping or dreaming this? It certainly looked like someone walking on the water, but how could it possibly be? Everyone in the boat is now wide awake and looking intently as the person approaching them. They’re not able to quite identify the person because it’s dark and the waves are making it difficult to get a clear sight.

Then the voice they all recognized, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” The voice must have thundered loudly above the storm and high waves. We have this very “sanitized” view of what happened that night. Go out into a heavy storm and try to tell something to someone even fifty feet away in the dark. It’s not an easy task with little visual reference and lots of background noise.

Again we find ourselves on very common ground with the disciples. How much “background noise” do we hear throughout the day? How easy is it to hear the voice of Jesus above the noise? Obviously some days is worse than others. Like the disciples had to do, we too must concentrate to hear Jesus’ voice.

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