It was the middle of the night and the disciples were struggling to row across the Galilean Sea, because, the Bible tells us, “the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew” (John 6:18). Hours earlier, they had just witnessed one of the most stunning demonstrations of spiritual power that any individual on earth has ever seen—the multiplication of a few loaves and fishes, which then abundantly fed thousands. But now it was dark. There was a fearsome wind. And they were without Jesus, as they labored to cross the Sea of Galilee.
Three of the four Gospels (Luke is the exception) connected the two episodes of the feeding of the multitude with the winds at night on the Galilee, indicating, according to The New Interpreter’s Bible, that they were linked in “oral tradition” (Vol. 9, p. 595). What might we learn from these episodes? Was it just coincidental that, after the beautiful demonstration of God’s abundant goodness and power, the disciples struggled against stiff winds and a violent sea?
There had been, beneath the surface, mental storms brewing during this period of Christ Jesus’ ministry. Rage and opposition against Jesus on the part of the authorities had erupted to the point that they now intended to kill him for healing the man at the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath (see John 5:16).