When it comes to the famous biblical account of Jesus and the disciples crossing the water, there has been much debate over what time of day this event actually took place. Some argue that this detail is insignificant, while others believe it holds great meaning. In this article, we will explore the different viewpoints and attempt to shed some light on this intriguing topic.
Before we dive into the details of the timing, let’s first recap what happened. In Matthew 14:22-33, we read that after feeding a crowd of over 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus instructed his disciples to get into a boat and cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. He then dismissed the crowd and went up onto a mountainside by himself to pray.
As evening approached, the boat was already a considerable distance from land and was being battered by waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night (between 3-6am), Jesus came towards them walking on the water.
The disciples were terrified, but Jesus reassured them and Peter even walked on water for a brief moment before beginning to sink. They then returned to land and were met by more people who had heard about Jesus’ miracles.
So where does the debate come in? It all centers around one specific verse in Mark’s version of this story (Mark 6:48): “Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake.” This seems to suggest that Jesus came towards them during a very specific time period – shortly before dawn.
Some argue that this detail is purely descriptive and not meant to hold any deeper meaning. After all, other versions simply state that it was during “the fourth watch” which could technically be anywhere between 3-6am. However, others believe that this specific timing was chosen for a reason.
Those who believe that the “shortly before dawn” detail holds significance point to the symbolism of light and darkness throughout the Bible. Dawn represents a new beginning, a fresh start, and the breaking of darkness. This could be interpreted as Jesus coming to his disciples during a time of great turmoil (the stormy sea) and bringing them hope and new life.
There is also the idea that this timing was intentionally chosen to coincide with Jewish tradition. In Judaism, there are specific prayer times throughout the day – one of which is known as “netz haChama” or “sunrise”.
This is considered one of the most important prayer times as it represents the renewal of God’s creation and the start of a new day. If Jesus did indeed come towards his disciples during this time, it could be seen as him reaffirming his connection to Jewish tradition and emphasizing his role as a spiritual leader.
In all honesty, we may never know for sure what time of day Jesus and the disciples decided to cross the water. However, by examining different viewpoints and exploring possible meanings behind certain details, we can gain a deeper understanding of this powerful story.
Whether or not you believe that the timing holds any significance, one thing is clear – Jesus’ miraculous ability to walk on water and calm the storm brought peace and comfort to his disciples in their time of need. And that is something that transcends all debates and interpretations.