Humble Hero


A Night on the Lake

This chapter is based on Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-52; John 6:14-21.

Seated on the grassy plain in the twilight of the spring evening, the people ate the food Christ provided. The miracle of the loaves appealed to everyone in that vast crowd. God had fed Israel with manna in the desert, and who was this that had fed them that day, if not the One whom Moses had foretold? They said one to another, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” HH 170.1

That crowning act was assurance that the long-looked-for Deliverer was among them. He was the One who would make Judea an earthly paradise, a land flowing with milk and honey. He could break the power of the hated Romans. He could heal the soldiers wounded in battle. He could supply whole armies with food. He could give to Israel the long-sought rulership! HH 170.2

The people were ready to crown Him king immediately. They saw that He made no effort to get honor for Himself, and they feared He would never assert His claim to David’s throne. Consulting together, they agreed to take Him by force and proclaim Him the King of Israel. The disciples united with the crowd in declaring that the throne of David was the rightful inheritance of their Master. Let the arrogant priests and rulers be forced to honor Him who came clothed with the authority of God. HH 170.3

But Jesus saw what was happening and what would be the result. Violence and insurrection would follow, hindering the work of the spiritual kingdom. He must stop the movement at once. Calling His disciples, Jesus told them to take the boat and return right then to Capernaum, leaving Him to dismiss the people. HH 170.4

Never before had a command from Christ seemed so impossible. This seemed the golden opportunity to establish their beloved Master on the throne of Israel. It was hard for them to go away by themselves and leave Jesus alone on that desolate shore. They protested, but Jesus now spoke with an authority He had never before revealed toward them. In silence they turned toward the lake. HH 170.5

Jesus now commanded the crowd to disperse, and His manner was so decisive that they did not dare disobey. In the very act of coming to seize Him, their steps were halted. The kingly bearing of Jesus and His few quiet words of command frustrated their plans. They recognized in Him a power greater than all earthly authority, and without question they submitted. HH 170.6

Left alone, Jesus “went up on a mountain by Himself to pray.” For hours He prayed for power to reveal to the people the divine character of His mission, so that Satan would not blind their understanding and twist their judgment. He knew that His days on earth were nearly ended, and that few would receive Him. His disciples were to be severely tried, their long-cherished hopes disappointed. Instead of seeing Him exalted to the throne of David, they were to witness His crucifixion. This would indeed be His true coronation, but they did not understand this, and without the Holy Spirit, the faith of the disciples would fail. Jesus poured out His requests to God for them with bitter agony and tears. HH 171.1

The disciples had not immediately set out in the boat from land, hoping that Jesus would come. But as darkness was fast gathering, they “got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum.” They complained because Jesus had not permitted them to proclaim Him King. They blamed themselves; if they had been more persistent, they might have accomplished their purpose. HH 171.2

Unbelief was taking possession of their minds and hearts. Love of honor had blinded them. They were eager to see Jesus exalted as they thought He should be. Were they always to be thought of as followers of a false prophet? Why did not Jesus, who possessed such power, reveal Himself in His true character and make their lives less painful? Why had He not saved John the Baptist from a violent death? The disciples reasoned this way until they brought great spiritual darkness on themselves. They questioned, “Could Jesus be an impostor, as the Pharisees claimed?” HH 171.3