“Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. And it had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. And the sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. When therefore they had rowed about three or four miles, they beheld Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. But He said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ They were willing therefore to receive Him into the boat; and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going. The next day the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other small boat there, except one, and that Jesus had not entered with His disciples into the boat, but that His disciples had gone away alone. There came other small boats from Tiberias near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. When the multitude therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the small boats, and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, ‘Rabbi, when did You get here?’ Jesus answered them and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled. ‘Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal.‘”
The CAGED method of Biblical hermeneutics; Context is king, Author’s aspirations are apex, Genre is the general, Expository exegesis of examples enlightens and Dividing rightly the word of truth either confirms or cancels our preconceived notions and presuppositions.
A story I have told but bears repeating, contextually speaking; is several years ago three of us went to a Jehovah’s Witness yearly conference. I believe it has an actual name but I forgot what is is and don’t know how to find out. I write in jest to point out the ease of accessibility of information in our times. Of course with the ease of true information comes the folly of false information. The Jehovah’s Witness have 2 yearly conventions, the Circuit and the Regional Conventions. We were at the larger, Regional Convention, willing to witness to any Witness who wanted to hear the true gospel– one without works and one that clearly beholds Jesus, Father and Spitit as God. I went equipped with a passage from John in the original Greek. But they hold to only words published by the Watchtower. They don’t believe in the original Greek because we don’t have the “original” manuscript. Not trusting in copies of copies, they prefer to believe latter day writings, similar to the LDS, Muslims, Many Jewish people and the prophecy pundits.
Nevertheless we went outside the conference with simple signs saying, “We want to talk to you about the true gospel.” When the leadership saw us, they huddled their bouncers around us, obviously and intentionally obscuring us from the view of the average attendees. I whipped out a portion of John’s gospel account written in Greek, while another one of us preached the gospel of grace to the leadership guarding us, like Paul to the Praetorian Guard. It sounds super spiritual but hindsight is 20/20; we would have been better off waiting until two of them knocked on our doors. People love their dubious dogma and traditions and hard hearts but especially don’t desire to change their minds from their self-centered, self-righteous, works based religion. A private conversation would have been better than a public spectacle. (Hint: when JW’s show up, usually one is an amateur and the other an “elder;” speak to the amateur, who will be the one speaking to you– perhaps their indoctrination has yet to set in.)
Ironically enough, in John’s gospel account Jesus tells his audience “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life;” we’re going to consider the context later but we already notice it “endures” to eternal life and doesn’t earn it. We will also see clearly that John emphatically established the deity of Jesus because Jesus did the deeds of deity. Jesus was YHWH and did the works of YHWH and claimed the name for himself. Ironically, the Jehovah’s Witness don’t believe that John’s original witness was true. Like many evangelicals, they don’t know or care to know that the gospels were written in Greek. Their dogma and even the dogma of some dispensationalists, doesn’t include the Greek New Testament. Unfortunately this dubious dogma is true; some people preach that the entire Bible was written in Hebrew because “Hebrew is the language of God.” It’s no wonder then, that people misunderstood what speaking in tongues was and why it was. It’s also an indication of how they miss fulfilled prophecy in Acts. Not only was the vast majority of the New Testament not written in Hebrew, save for a few words here and there, some of the Old Testament wasn’t either.
It is another irony that the Jehovah’s (YHWH’s) Witness are not witnesses of Jehovah. Part of the original Greek text of John which I attempted to show the dubiously dogmatic JW’s, read transliterated; “Ego Eimi;” translated and transliterated from Hebrew this would be, YHWH or “Jehovah–” blasphemy to the JW’s (and the Jews) but should be the central tenet to christianity. Unfortunately I know many christians who still believe that YHWH was pronounced “Jehovah” and that God the Father, rather than a theophany of the Son, visited Abraham, Moses and the Prophets. Another excellent example of dubious dogma– actually, disproven dogma– there was no “J” in Hebrew. Yet they double down.
We have briefly discussed the use of “I am” by Jesus in John’s gospel account. A more literal translation of “I am” in John’s gospel account would be something like “I am certainly I am.” Some gets lost in translation and grammatical differences but coupled to the context, Jesus was quite clear. Also, expounding on examples enlightens us to the plain meaning and message of Jesus– he absolutely asserted that he was YHWH. Otherwise, why would they have picked up stones to kill him for blasphemy in John chapter eight? Context is king; Jesus was not the only person in history to emphatically exclaim, “Ego Eimi.” A man Jesus healed– but people did not believe that it was actually him– said, “Ego Eimi,” he was emphatically exclaiming, “yes, it’s me, I am he.” We let the context and aspirations of the author define and demonstrate the words used. We also explore examples and see the sublime string. There is no question about the deity of Jesus after reading John’s gospel account.
Others using the transliterated phrase Ego Eimi, doesn’t negate Jesus using it to point to himself as YHWH. Like the man of whom Jesus healed– they didn’t believe it was him but thought it must be someone else, The man was emphatically exclaiming, it’s me, I am him! In that second, in that situation, in that context, the healed man was putting all the emphasis on himself. At that moment, the man was being egocentric, ie. “Ego Eimi!” This is how and why we have the word “ego” and why it is ironic that the prophecy pundits are egocentric, using ego-circular reasoning– everything revolves around them. Yet as we will see by considering context and exploring examples, everything revolves around Jesus. Jesus was incredibly egocentric because he had to be, he is the savior of the world and judge of people, the true Ego Eimi. We need look no further, but we will, than the walking on water.
I would like to go off script for a moment and look at the “last days.” What is said about the last days that has the dogmatic dispensationalists doubling down on dubious dogma and at a fever pitch? They have increased their YouTube platforms and prophecy updates. What used to be yearly, then monthly and weekly has become a daily occurrence. Why would we need daily updates on prophecy? Think about it– remember the silence of Scripture during the inertestimonial times, when the coming of the Messiah was right around the corner. Perhaps the readers of these missives don’t watch or listen to sermons, radio shows, YouTube videos and the like as I do. I spend a lot of time traveling and prefer to listen to christian radio shows and sermons, even if I don’t agree with eschatology, from local, regional and national pastors. Ironically enough, because of the struggles in 2020, many pastors and preachers, theologians and teachers are speaking on the “last days ” yet hoping that 2021 brings a better year. I would argue that to this very, early point in 2021, it is looking worse. I actually appreciate the doggedly dogmatic more than the hopeful ones, at least they are sticking to their guns about the world waxing worse and worse in the “last days.” Nevertheless we need to ask two questions: What did God really say about the last days– and the last days of what?
Briefly, hitting the highlights; Micah 4:1, “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it.”
1 Timothy 4:7, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.”
Hosea 3:5, “Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.”
2 Peter 3:3, “Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.”
Isaiah 2:2, “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills.”
That’s good! (Sounds like Michah; or vice versa)
Joel prophesied and Peter preached, “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.” This is very good but it begs the question; the last days of what? The purpose for Peter’s preaching was presenting to the people present that they were seeing absolute evidence that they were in the last days– way back in the first century, shortly after the ascension of Jesus to his throne. Yes, Peter wrote, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.” Isn’t it odd though that the prophecy pundits proclaim the latter and not the former when pontificating about God’s prophetic time clock? The say things like, “we’re only 2 days into prophecy.” But if they used their ego-circular reasoning in full, they would also see that we are almost 730,000,000 years into God’s prophetic time clock. Could it be that we are being too literal, entirely missing the point?
Prophecy doesn’t revolve around us or our egocentric, ego-circular reasonings. They say, “we’re in the last days because things are getting worse and things are getting worse because we are in the last days.” But what does Scripture say? The book of Hebrews is the capstone for fulfillment of prophecy and the confirmation of Jesus the Ego Eimi being at the center.
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;…’SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE THINE ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR THY FEET [most quoted Old Testament passage in the New Testament]’…After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will…For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU, AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU’…For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself…For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says, ‘BEHOLD, DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH; NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DID NOT CARE FOR THEM, SAYS THE LORD’..When He said, ‘A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.”
That was the abridged version of the Biblical definition of the “last days.” It’s the last days of the old covenant. The last days revolve around the coming of the Messiah. Prophecy revolves around the Ego Eimi. Salvation and glory and peace with God revolve around Jesus– as does judgment against the breakers of the old covenant. Yet the prophecy pundits proclaim that God will once again give the old covenant another go, giving a third chance at temple worship, thinking that Old Testament prophets prophesied about our times and not the times of the Ego Eimi. This would be blasphemy– “He (Ego Eimi), having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. For by one offering He (Ego Eimi) has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”
Watch now Jesus walking on the water in its fullness as we explore examples, encapsulating exegesis. Beginning in Mark; “And immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the multitude away. And after bidding them farewell, He departed to the mountain to pray. And when it was evening, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and He was alone on the land. And seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night, He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were frightened.”
John wrote, “When therefore they had rowed about three or four miles, they beheld Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. But He said to them, ‘It is I (Ego Eimi); do not be afraid.’ They were willing therefore to receive Him into the boat…”
Matthew adds, “‘Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.’ And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ And He said, ‘Come!’ And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, ‘You are certainly God’s Son!'”
John concludes; “and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.”
I know that I think everything is ironic but that’s because it is. In my self-study I am studying the book of Jeremiah and the second most recorded statement other than “thus says the Lord,” is “these stupid people.” Admittedly that’s hyperbole but a recurring image in Jeremiah is the stupidity of men. Juxtaposed to Jesus and his words, we are different and think differently; that’s the meaning of Holy, God is set apart, therefore, everything is ironic. Again, some hyperbole, nevertheless think about Job’s friends, those against Isaiah, those who burned the book of Jeremiah, the priests, the Pharisees, the Sadducees and even ourselves and compare them all to Jesus. Therefore we can see the irony in Jesus walking on the water and the response of his disciples.
Moses begged to see God’s glory and God granted him a glimpse of his backside, however Jesus intended to reveal his glory to the disciples but before he could, they cried out in great fear. Jesus’ intention in walking on the water was to “pass them by” as he had done with Moses. But the ignorant disciples didn’t recognize Jesus but rather thought that he was a ghost. Rather than fully showing them who he was, he showed them a small part and called out the name of the Lord most high to them, “fear not, Ego Eimi!”
Yes, this is ironic, after all the signs and wonders done by Jesus in their presence, confirming that he was the one that the prophets promised, he couldn’t reveal his glory to them because they lacked faith. Matthew highlights this by including Peter walking on water but losing sight of Jesus for the waves. As Peter started to sink, he cried out to Jesus to save him. Again, it’s utterly ironic– both beautiful and a betrayal– Peter’s fledgling faith, yet he begged salvation from the perfect person and Jesus saved him.
Not to beat the proverbial dead horse but I get lost and immersed in the intense imagery– Jesus wanted to walk by them, literally showing off, strutting his stuff and rightfully so– The Word, The Creator, The Light, The Way, The Truth, The Life, The Great I Am– He wanted to show them his glory but they were stuck and struggling in their situation, of which, Jesus was in total control. We know this because when Jesus got into the boat, the storm stopped. Last time we looked at this imagery and questioned, why don’t prophecy pundits point to this text as imagery and symbolism of a rapture rescue? Ultimately the answer is that it’s absolutely antithetical to a rapture rescue. On the surface it looks like a decent image of Jesus rescuing his people from a wicked world, especially given John’s statement– “immediately there were on the land to which they were going.” Nevertheless Jesus intended to show them himself fully, but they didn’t recognize him, he saved them from the particular situation but he wasn’t finished with them and they weren’t finished either, hence the New Testament. Still, it could be percieved as a picture of a rapture rescue. This is why we consider the continuing context.
The problem with perceiving a picture of a rapture rescue is not only the continuing context but also Mark and Matthew’s accounts; we have the full picture because we also have the continuing context of John. A “rapture rescue” was neither the intention of Jesus nor an image painted by the retelling of the historical narrative. In fact, it is the opposite. The disciples should have been prepared to see Jesus pass them by through all the miracles that they saw. Mark tells us that the feeding of five thousand should have been enough for them to be patient enough to partake of the glory of Jesus passing them by. They didn’t understand and had hard hearts, believing that Jesus was a ghost. Nevertheless we are no smarter than they were. How many times does God desire to reveal himself to us but we perceive it to be a proverbial ghost?
I left Bible college, I left the church, I walked away from God because I was getting harrassed by christians, falsely accused of crimes by christians, lied about by christians, prosecuted and persecuted by christians, but what I did not perceive was the glory of God in all these things. God wasn’t trying to rescue me from trials and tribulations but he was interested in growing me through them. I had to lose my ego and look to Ego Eimi. Like Peter, I paid too much attention to the waves and not the creator of the waves. Peter was merely a microcosm of the greater goal of the walking on water.
Jesus did not cause the waves to rescue them from said waves but to show them himself and his glory. They were not struggling for the sake of struggling, awaiting a rescue but rather the intent was for them to see God. This trial was a test– they failed, twice. Our current trials and tribulations, which Paul would say are merely “momentarily, light affliction,” are not established for Jesus to come rescue us. In another irony, life can stink but be abundant. Bad things turn out to be good and depression can lead to joy. I will refrain from quoting Romans 8:28 because we all know and probably overuse this verse. Nevertheless the context of Romans 8 is pertinent to our present situation and today’s text. Our struggles, while new to us, are nothing new. The majority of us live like kings compared to our first-century fathers. Nevertheless persecution persists and more is on the horizon but does this indicate a rapture rescue or our growing in faith? Real persecution exists on this planet, a Covid19 vaccination is not even close to the Mark of the Beast. Our real brothers and sisters cannot buy or sell because they have the seal of God and not a seal of a worldly, bad government. Do we resemble Peter walking on water but losing our faith, starting to sink?
You thought I forgot about the rest of today’s text; it all ties together. “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled. ‘Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal.“
The mark of God juxtaposed to the mark of the beast: it is not some far-future fulfillment fabricated by the prophecy pundits. It was real in the first century. The problem is that history repeats itself and we don’t learn from history. We don’t work for salvation but for life eternal. We are not rewarded salvation for our works but given due recompense for our deeds done in the Holy Spirit. We Spiritually work for spiritual food, and that, for others. Read Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. Also don’t miss the desires of the people present who wanted to make Jesus king and sought after him, not because they saw signs but because their bellies were made full. Wordly appetites are definitely difficult to dispel, aren’t they?
Let’s look at Ephesians 4– “I [Paul], therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, ‘WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.’ (Now this expression, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) [Ah, the Ego Eimi] And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.”
We are not here until we are raptured, we’re here until the church becomes a mature man. We have to work at it but the EGO EIMI, who came down and conquered, ascended to heaven and his throne, has sent us his Spirit giving us gifts with which to work. I wonder if Paul had the walking on water in mind as he wrote to the church in Ephesus?
We will come back to this very shortly– but one thing I do know that was in Paul’s mind– Psalm 68. Paul quoted, some believe misquoted, Psalm 68 to the church in Ephesus. Paul doesn’t quote Psalm 68 verbatim but he does explain and expound on this psalm, much like we have seen Paul do before. We have seen Paul divide rightly the Law– “do not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.” Of course this doesn’t give Joel Osteen the liberty to translate pieces of passages as he sees fit. The apostle Paul was a Spirit inspired, Biblical writer and an official apostles who was “raptured” to heaven– in the body or out, even he didn’t know.
Psalm 68 highlights read; “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; And let those who hate Him flee before Him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; As wax melts before the fire, So let the wicked perish before God…God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land…Kings of armies flee, they flee, And she who remains at home will divide the spoil…Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captive Thy captives; Thou hast received gifts among men, Even among the rebellious also, that the LORD God may dwell there.”
Paul, pondering Psalm 68, tells the church in Ephesus that God gave gifts to them from the spoils he received from the captives he took captive. See the symbolism, understand the imagery and the metaphorical meaning. We come up with thousands of strange doctrines because we don’t see the picture painted with words. Jesus came like a warrior king, conquered kingdoms and divided the spoils. The tribute paid to Jesus, the gifts given, Jesus then gives them to his people through the Holy Spirit. Jesus freed the prisoners to prosperity [not health, wealth and happiness] and vanquished his foes. Not bad for a baby in a manger who road to his temple on a young donkey.
Paul continues; “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness hin deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ [the Ego Eimi], from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.”
In Mark’s account of the walking on water we read, And seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night, He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were frightened. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, ‘Take courage; it is I [Ego Eimi], do not be afraid.’ And He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were greatly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.”
The disciples missed an opportunity to see the fullness of Jesus and yet Jesus still got them to where they were going– “the land to which they were going–” according to John. The land to which they were going doesn’t represent heaven because this doesn’t represent a rapture rescue. Ironically enough the land to which they were going is identified by John– Capernaum. Ironically enough, Jesus and his disciples going to Capernaum is absolutely antithetical to a rapture rescue but is symbolic of Christ’s coming in judgment during the first century.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You shall descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”
It’s been a year since the Coronavirus came, we’ve seen an impeachment in America and it looks like we’ll see another, we’ve seen riots, looting, violence, mayhem death and destruction, all while living under curfews and wearing facemask. All of this fits into one category: we want control. Lovers of facemasks believe it can control the spread of Covid19. Haters of facemasks believe that they control their lives and shouldn’t have to wear them. I don’t want to make light of the loss of life or even the loss of freedom. Real people are really suffering but it is nothing new, yet it is to us. Compared to 16 months ago, most people’s lives have radically changed. Nevertheless Covid19 is merely waves battering our boat, figuratively speaking. Riots, civil unrest, churches being shuttered while the abortion mills remain open and receive tax dollars are a ghost. We’re missing Jesus in all of this because we are too egocentric and not looking to the Ego Eimi. Don’t you think that Jesus is telling us something, other than “hunker down and circle the wagons, I’ll be there soon?”
The thing about signs and wonders is that they were not always what we would call “good.” We already saw how the last days were described. Prophecy pundits proclaim that the world waxes worse and worse and that a huge holocaust is hovering on the horizon. They believe that two thirds of ethnic Israel will be slaughtered so that one third will be saved. Why then is it so difficult for them to understand that the church can be disciplined and disciplined severely? Why is it also difficult for them to admit that generally speaking, given the world’s population, that they live like kings compared to every other generation? Do I need to write about my grandfather again and the floods and hurricanes and Spanish Flu and polio and poverty and depression and two world wars through which he lived? You should have seen him when he got his first microwave oven, he was overjoyed and his excitement couldn’t be overlooked. Yet we take these things, and much less spiritual gifts, for granted.
Place yourself in the boat with the disciples, you’re rowing and rowing under your own power but after hours of struggle with little progress, your arms feel like fire and your chest aches from the strain and heavy breathing. Your lungs are like an overheated oven and your legs and back have begun to spasm. Still, you struggle to maintain control. But off in the distance a man comes, walking on the water. Though you’ve never seen a ghost, you think that this must be a ghost. But as you lose your composure and control, you cry out for fear of the unknown. Yet, you should have known.
I am writing to myself here and sharing it with you. It’s easy to point out the hypocrisy in others but it would be much easier with this chunk of wood removed. I want control, I want the Coronavirus to disappear and I certainly want the riots to recede and the shootings to stop. Yet I must put my money where my mouth is, metaphorically speaking of course. Like the disciples in the boat, it’s time for me to see Jesus and not a ghost, or the storm or the waves. I miss the intentions of Jesus, like the disciples. The metaphorical meanings and the intent of the imagery certainly is not a rapture though. Surely Jesus snatched them out of the sea and brought them to the land but notice it was the land to which they were struggling to go. Keeping it in context, in between free food and working for spiritual food given by God and the imagery and symbolism is clear, God is our help here on earth as we work to build his kingdom– “blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
One more quick piece of context to solidify the ironic imagery of us. “The next day the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other small boat there, except one, and that Jesus had not entered with His disciples into the boat, but that His disciples had gone away alone. There came other small boats from Tiberias near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. When the multitude therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the small boats, and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, ‘Rabbi, when did You get here?’ Jesus answered them and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled.”
The multitude saw the disciples leave without Jesus. Then searching for Jesus they saw the boat was still there but Jesus was not. Without a geography lesson, we can still see the ironic, egocentric, ego-circular reasoning of the multitude. “He didn’t go with his disciples and his boat isn’t here, how did he get here, it’s impossible?” I am not suggesting that they should have supposed that Jesus walked across the water to get there. Nevertheless John’s aspiration to his audience is abundantly apparent. They saw the miracle of multiplication but couldn’t understand how Jesus could have come to Capernaum without a boat. Jesus confirms their callousness by ignoring their question and beginning a divine discourse.
It’s ironic that the multitude after seeing and literally partaking of the miracle of multiplication, questioned Jesus as to how he arrived at Capernaum. It’s ironic that the disciples thought that Jesus was a ghost after everything else they had seen. It’s ironic that Peter started to sink after already having walked on water. All of these things are incredibly ironic to us in hindsight. Yet when I strap on my sandals in search of application it is I that am egocentric and ironic. Yes, an ultimate irony exists in the dubious dogma of a rapture rescue. Nevertheless, I see the truth in the Bible, that the Ego Eimi has conquered, gathered spoil, given gifts, and is reigning from heaven, building his kingdom while I sit on the sidelines, yelling at the players. Still, many of the players are running headlong towards the wrong goal line.