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John 6:14-21

Context

6:14 Now when the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus 1  performed, they began to say to one another, “This is certainly the Prophet 2  who is to come into the world.” 3  6:15 Then Jesus, because he knew they were going to come and seize him by force to make him king, withdrew again up the mountainside alone. 4 

Walking on Water

6:16 Now when evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 5  6:17 got into a boat, and started to cross the lake 6  to Capernaum. 7  (It had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.) 8  6:18 By now a strong wind was blowing and the sea was getting rough. 6:19 Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, 9  they caught sight of Jesus walking on the lake, 10  approaching the boat, and they were frightened. 6:20 But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” 6:21 Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat came to the land where they had been heading.

1 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

2 sn The Prophet is a reference to the “prophet like Moses” of Deut 18:15, by this time an eschatological figure in popular belief.

3 sn An allusion to Deut 18:15.

4 sn Jesus, knowing that his “hour” had not yet come (and would not, in this fashion) withdrew again up the mountainside alone. The ministry of miracles in Galilee, ending with this, the multiplication of the bread (the last public miracle in Galilee recorded by John) aroused such a popular response that there was danger of an uprising. This would have given the authorities a legal excuse to arrest Jesus. The nature of Jesus’ kingship will become an issue again in the passion narrative of the Fourth Gospel (John 18:33ff.). Furthermore, the volatile reaction of the Galileans to the signs prepares for and foreshadows the misunderstanding of the miracle itself, and even the misunderstanding of Jesus’ explanation of it (John 6:22-71).

5 tn Or “sea.” The Greek word indicates a rather large body of water, but the English word “sea” normally indicates very large bodies of water, so the word “lake” in English is a closer approximation.

6 tn Or “sea.” See the note on “lake” in the previous verse.

7 map For location see Map1 D2; Map2 C3; Map3 B2.

8 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

9 tn Grk “about twenty-five or thirty stades” (a stade as a unit of linear measure is about 607 feet or 187 meters).

sn About three or four miles. The Sea of Galilee was at its widest point 7 mi (11.6 km) by 12 mi (20 km). So at this point the disciples were in about the middle of the lake.

10 tn Or “sea.” See the note on “lake” in v. 16. John uses the phrase ἐπί (epi, “on”) followed by the genitive (as in Mark, instead of Matthew’s ἐπί followed by the accusative) to describe Jesus walking “on the lake.”



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