Bible Study series No.11 from The Gospel of John: " Do Not be Afraid"
Worship Program

Prayer:              Missionary Michio

Bible: The Gospel of John 6:16-21

Message:   「Do Not be Afraid」  Pastor Megumi

Prayer:               Missionary Michio



Bible: Gospel of John 6:16-21
16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 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. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

Last week, I talked about the miracle of the "five loaves and two fishes." Today, I would like to talk about the "mysterious events" that followed.


The story in chapter 6 is also found in the Synoptic Gospels written by the other disciples. There is a more detailed description than John's, so let's take a look at that as well.


Jesus had retreated to the mountain alone for a while, avoiding the people and the disciples.

It was after dinner with the crowds, and it was already dark when he and his disciples took a boat and crossed the lake to go to Capernaum. But then a strong wind started to blow and the sea became rough. There were some fishermen among the disciples, so they were probably used to this kind of situation, but still, a storm in the dark would have been very unsettling.


Note: (Lake Galilee is 200 meters lower than the sea level, and sometimes such gusts of wind can come.)


That's when it happened. The disciples saw a man walking on the lake and approaching the boat. The disciples thought it was a ghost and were very afraid, according to Mark 6:49. It was unthinkable for a human being to walk on water. Then the man said, "It is I, do not be afraid," as it says in verse 20 of the Gospel of John. So the disciples knew for the first time that the man was not a ghost, but Jesus.


According to Matthew 14:28 onward, Peter, the disciple, said at this time, "Lord, if it were you, I would have given you water. If it is you, command me to walk on the water and come here. Jesus said, "Come," so Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. However, when Peter saw the wind, he became frightened and almost sank, so he cried out, "Lord, help me!” Jesus immediately reached out His hand and pulled Peter to Him. Peter was able to walk on the water when he was only looking at Jesus. But when he saw the really strong wind, he was struck with fear.


Now, this brings us to the main topic of today.

The disciples had experienced miracles right in front of their eyes, and each time they believed that this man was the Messiah, the Son of God, so they left their own lives and followed Him.

The miracle of the "five loaves and two fishes" had not only filled the crowds to the brim but they had also been overwhelmed by the amazing work of Jesus, who had filled twelve baskets to the brim.


But were the disciples able to trust Jesus completely?


Maybe it's a limitation of humans. We still feel anxious and worry about things we experience for the first time because it involves the risk of not knowing what will happen. Sometimes we are very afraid of it. Aren't we the same as the disciples back then in this respect?


When we thought our faith was secure, an unexpected crisis comes along and we panic and become confused and disappointed.


Even the disciples who had been with Jesus all this time, did not understand the true reason for His coming to earth until much later.


No matter how much Jesus told them about it they could not accept it. They thought, "Dying on the cross is outrageous, it's impossible.”

They thought that Christ was eternal and that He was the King who would save them now. Every time a miracle happened, they rejoiced.



Thanks to the Bible along with the weekly sermons and Bible studies at church, we are able to understand the miracles of Jesus and what was going on back in the day. 


Many believers who have studied the Bible for a long time are able to understand a pastor’s message and know the purpose of it before the sermon ends.


The stories in the Bible are in the past. We have the comfort of knowing how the story goes. The reality is that we will face many situations where our faith will be challenged.

How will we act when we won’t have the luxury of knowing how the story begins and ends?


When I knew I only had three months to live, I felt abandoned by God and experienced inexplicable loneliness.

Even though I had firmly believed that I would have eternal life even after my life on earth was over, I was in despair and felt hopeless.


I was also overwhelmed by my helplessness in Africa, where I had left in high spirits after fulfilling my long dream of becoming a medical evangelist. What was the purpose of my existence?


There were times when I felt like my faith was about to collapse.

Despite how much we have been thankful for God's help in the past, and how much we have been convinced of our trust in Him, the circumstances that will arise in the future will not be the same


So what should we do?

What we need to do is not to look at the problem in front of us and be afraid, but to hear the voice of the Lord saying, "Do not be afraid, I am with you." and to hold on to it.

We should welcome Him into the boat of life that is us.

Let's pray together. Trust in the Lord to strengthen our faith!