Mark 6:48
Parallel Verses
New International Version
He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them,

New Living Translation
He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o'clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them,

English Standard Version
And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them,

New American Standard Bible
Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them.

King James Bible
And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
He saw them being battered as they rowed, because the wind was against them. Around three in the morning He came toward them walking on the sea and wanted to pass by them.

International Standard Version
He saw that his disciples were straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he came to them, walking on the sea. He intended to go up right beside them,

NET Bible
He saw them straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. As the night was ending, he came to them walking on the sea, for he wanted to pass by them.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And he saw them laboring as they were rowing, for the wind was against them. And it was, that in the fourth watch of the night, Yeshua came toward them as he was walking on the sea, and he wanted to pass by them.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Jesus saw that they were in a lot of trouble as they rowed, because they were going against the wind. Between three and six o'clock in the morning, he came to them. He was walking on the sea. He wanted to pass by them.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And he saw them toiling in rowing, for the wind was contrary unto them; and about the fourth watch of the night he came unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.

King James 2000 Bible
And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he came unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.

American King James Version
And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary to them: and about the fourth watch of the night he comes to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed by them.

American Standard Version
And seeing them distressed in rowing, for the wind was contrary unto them, about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking on the sea; and he would have passed by them:

Douay-Rheims Bible
And seeing them labouring in rowing, (for the wind was against them,) and about the fourth watch of the night, he cometh to them walking upon the sea, and he would have passed by them.

Darby Bible Translation
And seeing them labouring in rowing, for the wind was contrary to them, about the fourth watch of the night he comes to them walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.

English Revised Version
And seeing them distressed in rowing, for the wind was contrary unto them, about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking on the sea; and he would have passed by them:

Webster's Bible Translation
And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary to them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh to them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.

Weymouth New Testament
But when He saw them distressed with rowing (for the wind was against them)

World English Bible
Seeing them distressed in rowing, for the wind was contrary to them, about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea, and he would have passed by them,

Young's Literal Translation
and he saw them harassed in the rowing, for the wind was against them, and about the fourth watch of the night he doth come to them walking on the sea, and wished to pass by them.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

6:45-56 The church is often like a ship at sea, tossed with tempests, and not comforted: we may have Christ for us, yet wind and tide against us; but it is a comfort to Christ's disciples in a storm, that their Master is in the heavenly mount, interceding for them. And no difficulties can hinder Christ's appearance for his people, when the set time is come. He silenced their fears, by making himself known to them. Our fears are soon satisfied, if our mistakes are set right, especially our mistakes as to Christ. Let the disciples have their Master with them, and all is well. It is for want of rightly understanding Christ's former works, that we view his present works as if there never were the like before. If Christ's ministers now could cure people's bodily diseases, what multitudes would flock after them! It is sad to think how much more most care about their bodies than about their souls.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 48-50. - And he saw them toiling in rowing. The Greek is, according to the best readings καὶ ἰδὼν (not εϊδεν) αὐτοὺς βασανιξομένους ἐν τῷ ἐλαύνειν. The word βασανιξομένους means more than "toiling;" it means literally, tormented. It is well rendered in the Revised Version by distressed. It was only by painful effort that they could make head against the driving storm blowing upon them from the west, that is, from the Mediterranean Sea. About the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking on the sea. The Jews formerly divided the night into three watches; but when Judaea became a Roman province they adopted the Roman division. The Romans changed the watches every three hours, lest through too long watches the guards might slumber at their posts. These periods were called "watches." If the night was short, they divided it into three watches; if long, into four. Therefore the fourth watch began at the tenth hour of the night, that is, at three o'clock in the morning, and continued to the twelfth, that is, to six o'clock. It would seem, therefore, that this storm lasted for nine hours. During that time the disciples had rowed about twenty-five or thirty furlongs, that is about three Roman miles - eight furlongs - making a mile. The Sea of Galilee is not more than six miles broad at its widest part. They were therefore now (ἐν μέσῳ τῆς θαλάσσης) "in the midst of the sea," as St. Mark expresses it; so that, after rowing for nine hours, they had hardly crossed more than half over the sea. The Sea of Galilee is, speaking roughly, about twelve miles from north to south and six from east to west. It may be asked why our Lord suffered them to be tempest-tossed so long; and the answer is:

1. It was a trial of their faith, so as to urge them to seek more earnestly the help of God.

2. It was a lesson to accustom them to endure bard-ness.

3. It made the stilling of so tedious and dangerous a storm all the more grateful and welcome to them at last. The Fathers find a fine spiritual meaning in this. Jerome says, "The fourth watch is the last." So, too, St. Augustine, who adds that "he who has watched the ship of his Church will come at length at the fourth watch, at the end of the world, when the night of sin and evil is ended, to judge the quick and the dead." Theophylact says, "He allows his disciples to be tried by dangers, that they may be taught patience, and does not come to them till morning, that they may learn perseverance and faith." Hilary says, "The first watch was the age of the Law, the second of the prophets, the third of the gospel, the fourth of his glorious advent, when he will find her buffeted by the spirit of antichrist and by the storms of the world. And by his reception into the ship and the consequent calm is prefigured the eternal peace of the Church after his second coming" (see Wordsworth's 'New Testament:'St. Matthew 14). He walked on the sea. This he did by his Divine power, which he possessed as God, and which, when he pleased, he could assume as man. Infidelity is at fault here. Paulus the rationalist, revived the ridiculous idea that Christ walking on the sea merely meant Christ walking on the shore, elevated above the sea; but the interpretation was rightly denounced by Lavater as "a laughable insult on logic, hermeneutics, good sense, and honesty." Was it because our Lord simply walked on the shore that the disciples "cried out and were troubled"? Was it merely for this that they were "sore amazed at themselves beyond measure and wondered"? Yet such are the shifts to which unbelief is reduced when it ventures to measure itself against the acts of Omnipotence. He would have passed by them. An expression something like that in St. Luke (Luke 24:28), "He made as though he would go further," although there the Greek in St. Luke is different (προσεποιεῖτο πορρωτέρω πορεύεσθαι). Here it is ἤθελε παρελθεῖν: literally, he wished to pass by them; so at least it appeared to the disciples. It has been suggested that our Lord did this that the disciples might more clearly see how the wind was stilled in his presence. They supposed that it was an apparition (ἔδοξαν ὄτι φάντασμα εϊναι); literally, a phantom. Why did they suppose this? Partly from the idea that spectres appear in the night and in the darkness to terrify men, and partly because in the darkness they could not so readily recognize that it was Jesus. Then the fact that our Lord" would bare passed by them," flitting past them as though he eared nothing for them and had nothing to do with them, but was going elsewhere; this must have increased their terror. But now came the moment for him to calm their fears. Straightway he talked with them soothingly. Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. Now, Christ did this that he might teach his disciples to conquer fear and temptation, even when they are very great, and that so the deliverance and the consolation might impress them all the more powerfully and sweetly in proportion to their former terror. "'It is I' - I, your Lord and Master, whom you know so well, and of whose goodness and omnipotence you have already had so much experience; I, your Master, who do not come to mock you as a phantom, but to deliver you both from fear and from storm." It will be observed that St. Mark omits all mention of Peter's act of faith "in going down from the boat, and walking upon the waters to come to Jesus," as recorded by St. Matthew (Matthew 14:28). Throughout this Gospel, as already noticed, St. Peter is kept in the background.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And he saw them toiling in rowing,.... He saw them either with his bodily eyes from the mountain on which he was; or he perceived in his Spirit, he knew, by virtue of his omniscience as God, what distress his disciples were in; being tossed about with the waves of the sea, and were labouring with all their might and main against the wind: and were vexed and tortured, as the word signifies; they were in the utmost pain and uneasiness of mind, as well as fatigue of body, assisting the men in rowing; for the ship they were in was no other than a vessel managed by oars; and hard work it was to keep it from being overset:

for the wind was contrary unto them; it blew from the other side they were making to, full in their face, hard against them; so that it was with great toil and difficulty, that they got any thing forward:

and about the fourth watch of the night; or three o'clock in the morning: so that it is very likely, that as the evening when they took to the vessel was sun setting, or about six o'clock, they had been nine hours at sea, and had got but twenty five or thirty furlongs from shore; See Gill on Matthew 14:25;

he cometh unto them walking upon the sea: being in this distress, Christ came down from the mountain to the sea side; and then, by his divine power, as the mighty God, that treadeth on the waves of the sea, he walked upon the surface of the waters of it; "as on dry land", as the Persic version adds:

and would have passed by them; that is, he made as though he would; see Luke 24:28. By the course he steered, by the swiftness of his motion, and his seeming negligence of them, it looked as though he intended to have gone by them, and said nothing to them, though this was far from his real design.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

48. And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them—putting forth all their strength to buffet the waves and bear on against a head wind, but to little effect. He "saw" this from His mountain top, and through the darkness of the night, for His heart was all with them: yet would He not go to their relief till His own time came.

and about the fourth watch of the night—The Jews, who used to divide the night into three watches, latterly adopted the Roman division into four watches, as here. So that, at the rate of three hours to each, the fourth watch, reckoning from six P.M., would be three o'clock in the morning. "So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs" (Joh 6:19)—rather more than halfway across. The lake is about seven miles broad at its widest part. So that in eight or nine hours they had only made some three and a half miles. By this time, therefore, they must have been in a state of exhaustion and despondency bordering on despair; and now at length, having tried them long enough.

he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea—"and draweth nigh unto the ship" (Joh 6:19).

and would have passed by them—but only in the sense of Lu 24:28; Ge 32:26; compare Ge 18:3, 5; 42:7.

Mark 6:48 Additional Commentaries
Context
Jesus Walks on Water
47When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. 48Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. 49But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out;…
Cross References
Matthew 24:43
But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.

Mark 6:47
Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land.

Mark 6:49
but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out,

Mark 13:35
"Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back--whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.

Luke 24:28
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther.
Treasury of Scripture

And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary to them: and about the fourth watch of the night he comes to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed by them.

he saw.

Isaiah 54:11 O you afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, …

John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor …

Matthew 14:24 But the ship was now in the middle of the sea, tossed with waves: …

the fourth.

Exodus 14:24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked to …

1 Samuel 11:11 And it was so on the morrow, that Saul put the people in three companies; …

Luke 12:38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, …

he cometh.

Job 9:8 Which alone spreads out the heavens, and treads on the waves of the sea.

Psalm 93:4 The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yes, …

Psalm 104:3 Who lays the beams of his chambers in the waters: who makes the clouds …

would.

Genesis 19:2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your …

Genesis 32:26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaks. And he said, I will not …

Luke 24:28 And they drew near to the village, where they went: and he made as …

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