|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:15-21 Here were Christ's disciples in the way of duty, and Christ was praying for them; yet they were in distress. There may be perils and afflictions of this present time, where there is an interest in Christ. Clouds and darkness often surround the children of the light and of the day. They see Jesus walking on the sea. Even the approaches of comfort and deliverance often are so mistaken, as to become the occasions of fear. Nothing is more powerful to convince sinners than that word, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest; nothing more powerful to comfort saints than this, I am Jesus whom thou lovest. If we have received Christ Jesus the Lord, though the night be dark, and the wind high, yet we may comfort ourselves, we shall be at the shore before long.
Verse 21. - Then they were willing to receive him into the ship: and straightway the ship was at the land whither they were going. Some expositors, who find discrepancy between this statement and that of the synoptists, say, "they were willing, but did not do it," because the vessel is said by some remarkable process to have been miraculously propelled to the shore (so Lucke, Meyer). There are many passages, however, where a similar expression is used, and where no doubt arises that that which the actors were willing to do they actually did (see Mark 12:38; certainly scribes were not only willing to, but actually did, wear long robes). Chrysostom felt this difficulty, and actually proposed to read η΅λθον instead of ἤθελον, which would remove the difficulty; and א veritably contains this reading, but it has every appearance of an unauthorized correction. The imperfect tense implies a lengthened willingness supervening on fear and outcry - a willingness or wish increased by the sound of his voice, following his first action, his apparent resolve to pass by them; and, still more, by the incident described in Matthew's Gospel, of Peter's desire to display the strength of his faith and the eminence of his position among the twelve. This occupied time, during which the wind may have been bearing them briskly in their true direction. They willed, wished, to take him into the ship, and did so, and the calm supervened as described in Matthew and Mark. Their wish is not frustrated by the fact now mentioned, but accompanied by it. "Straightway," etc. Most expositors confess this to be an additional miracle, that the twenty furlongs or thereabouts (two miles and a half) were suddenly traversed and miraculously abolished. There would be a greater miracle in this than in the two events which preceded. The annihilation of space and time is the obliteration of the very categories of thought, and would, if conveyed by the statement, suggest a stupendous and, so far as we can see, a useless portent. It would strongly tempt us to accept the rationalistic interpretation. Αὐθέως does not always mean "instantaneously," but simply that the next thing to notice or observe was the fact described. Take Mark 1:21, 29. It does not mean that any miraculous rapidity characterized the movement of Christ to the house of Simon and Andrew (Mark 4:17; Galatians 1:16 3John 14 John 13:32; and many other passages). The author of the "Christian Year" has consecrated in sweet lines the supposed addition to the miracle -
"Thou Framer of the light and dark,
Steer through the tempest thine own ark;
Amid the howling wintry sea,
We are in port, if we have thee." But there are so many ways in which this "straightway" may be reconciled with an ordinary disembarkation, that there is no necessity to regard it as implied in John's narrative. John so often leaves gaps unfilled in his chronology and horology that no peat emphasis need be laid upon the annihilation (save in his adoring thought) of the hour before the dawn.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then they willingly received him into the ship,.... When they knew who he was; and especially he was the more welcome, as they were in distress; and he able, as they well knew, to help them:
and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went; which was done, as Nonnus observes, by a divine motion; for not only the wind ceased, but another miracle was wrought; the ship was in an instant at the place whither they intended to go.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. willingly received him into the ship—their first fears being now converted into wonder and delight.
and immediately the ship was at the land—This additional miracle, for as such it is manifestly related, is recorded here alone. Yet all that is meant seems to be that as the storm was suddenly calmed, so the little bark—propelled by the secret power of the Lord of Nature now sailing in it—glided through the now unruffled waters, and while they were wrapt in wonder at what had happened, not heeding their rapid motion, was found at port, to their still further surprise.
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