From Heaven With Love


Chapter 40—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 multitude. God had fed Israel with manna in the desert, and who was this that had fed them that day but He whom Moses had foretold? They said one to another, “This is of a truth the Prophet that should come into the world.” HLv 249.1

That crowning act was assurance that the long-looked-for Deliverer was among them. This was He 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 dominion! HLv 249.2

The people were ready at once to crown Him king. They saw that He made no effort to secure honor to Himself, and they feared He would never urge 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 multitude in declaring the throne of David 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. HLv 249.3

But Jesus saw what was on foot. Violence and insurrection would follow, and the work of the spiritual kingdom would be hindered. Without delay the movement must be checked. Calling His disciples, Jesus bade them take the boat and return at once to Capernaum, leaving Him to dismiss the people. HLv 249.4

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 assumed toward them. In silence they turned toward the sea. HLv 250.1

Jesus now commanded the multitude to disperse, and His manner was so decisive that they dared not disobey. In the very act of advancing to seize Him, their steps were stayed. The kingly bearing of Jesus and His few quiet words of command frustrated their designs. They recognized in Him a power above all earthly authority, and without question they submitted. HLv 250.2

Left alone, Jesus “went up into a mountain apart to pray.” For hours He prayed for power to reveal to men the divine character of His mission, that Satan might not blind their understanding and pervert their judgment. He knew that His days on earth were nearly ended, and that few would receive Him. His disciples were to be grievously tried, their long-cherished hopes disappointed. In place of His exaltation to the throne of David, they were to witness His crucifixion. This was to be indeed His true coronation; but they did not discern this, and without the Holy Spirit the faith of the disciples would fail. For them He poured out His supplications with bitter agony and tears. HLv 250.3

The disciples had not put off immediately from land, hoping that Jesus would come. But as darkness was fast gathering, they “entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum.” They murmured because they had not been permitted to proclaim Him king. They blamed themselves; if they had been more persistent, they might have accomplished their purpose. HLv 250.4

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 accounted followers of a false prophet? Why did not He who possessed such power reveal Himself in His true character, and make their way less painful? Why had He not saved John the Baptist from a violent death? Thus the disciples reasoned until they brought on themselves great spiritual darkness. They questioned, Could Jesus be an impostor, as the Pharisees asserted? HLv 251.1