“Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.” John 6:15
Jesus’ multiplying of the loaves and fishes greatly excited the multitude that followed him. In the book The Desire of Ages, Ellen White writes that this action, combined with the people’s desire for prosperity and greatness, caused the people to become eager to set Jesus up as king over them. The disciples, due to their own ambitions and misunderstandings of Christ’s purpose for coming to the earth, were foremost in promoting Jesus’ kingship. They also knew his disinclination for the throne and attributed his hesitancy more to timidity than anything else and were willing to crown him by force if necessary.
Our focus text tells us that Jesus was aware of their desire to force him to become king. To prevent this Jesus left the crowd, going further up the mountain to pray. Mathew, in his gospel, writes that before leaving Jesus directed his disciples to get into their boat and sail to the other side, but John’s gospel makes it clear that the disciples delayed obeying their master until evening had come.
Having finally begun their journey, some distance out into the lake, they encountered a strong wind that made headway across the lake extremely difficult.
As a result of their frustration and disappointment with Jesus, because he had thwarted their attempt to crown him, they had delayed to obey him. Now they faced opposing winds that would not have be present had they obeyed Christ when he had given the command.
Far too often we too delay to obey Christ’s clear instructions because they don’t match our plans and expectations.
Do we know what’s required to set up God’s kingdom? Do we understand all the problems and challenges that must be overcome? Can we discern the opportunities now present that will be lost if we delay, and can we see all the obstacles that can be avoided if we’ll act without hesitation?
Too much we’re like the disciples. For too long we’ve failed to learn the lessons we could have learned from their experiences.
But Jesus is patient and forgiving. He won’t abandon us.
In the midst of the disciples’ trials, that had come because of their slowness to obey, Christ came to them walking on the water with the message, “it is I, don’t be afraid”, and his message is the same for us today.