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they thought that now the hour was come, the long desired hour. With one voice they declared he should be King, and were ready to use violence to compel him. When Jesus perceived this, he immediately constrained his disciples, as Mark expresses it, (thereby intimating that they were disposed to join the multitude,) to get into the boat, and commanded them to go to Bethsaida;-not the town in whose neighborhood they were, but another village on the other side," just south of Capernaum, called Bethsaida in Galilee. He himself remained behind, and persuaded the multitude to disperse. Then, it being one of the extraordinary and trying moments of his life, he returned to the mountain and prayed.
Meanwhile the night came on, and the disciples, in their little boat, being detained by contrary wind, had not reached the place they had designed. The whole night was passed in a vain attempt to resist the wind. At the fourth watch, that is, about three o'clock in the morning, as they were still toiling at the oars, Jesus who had seen their distress from the land, approached them walking on the water. At first they thought it an apparition, and cried out for fear. But his well-known voice reached them, saying, "It is I, be not afraid." The ardent Peter, delighted to behold his master and eager to embrace him, asked leave to go to him on the waves. Jesus
said, Come." But when Peter found himself actually on the water, his courage failed, and he would have sunk if his Master had not stretched forth his hand and caught him. "Oh thou of little faith," said he, "wherefore didst thou doubt?" When they arrived on board, the wind ceased, and they easily reached their haven.
They went ashore in the land of Gennesaret, which was the name of a considerable tract of fertile, populous country bordering the west side of the lake. The tidings of his arrival spread rapidly among the people, and it seemed as if they could not do enough to testify their joy. They sent out into all the country round about, and brought to him in beds those that were diseased. And wherever he moved, whether to cities, or villages, or the country, his way was thronged with objects on which to exert his benevolent power. They laid the sick in the streets, and, remembering the woman who had been healed in the streets of Capernaum, besought him that they might touch if it were only the hem of his garment; and as many as touched him were made whole. There is no more lively description of the sensation his appearance created and of the wonderful works he did, than is found in this account of his visit to Gennesaret. In this manner
John vi. 22.
he proceeded through the country till he reached Capernaum.
Here he was met by some persons whom he had left the preceding day on the opposite side of the water. They had been surprised not to find him in the morning; for they had seen the disciples go away without him, and there was no other boat at the place;-they could not conjecture how he could have departed. But not finding him, they went on board some vessels just arrived from Tiberias, and sailed over to Capernaum to inquire for him. They found him, to their no small amazement, in the synagogue. He received them coldly; he told them, that it was not in a right spirit that they sought him, but merely because they had seen the miracle of the loaves, and therefore trusted that he would support his followers. He endeavored to lead them away from their wrong notions respecting the Messiah. Some of them asked of him a sufficient proof that he was he, pretending that his miracle of the preceding day was nothing in comparison with that of the manna given by Moses. Others seemed more docile, and begged him to give them the true bread of which he spoke. But, on the whole, they manifested so unteachable, prejudiced, and worldly a state of mind, they so carped and cavilled at
his expressions, that he did as he had before done, clothed his ideas in strong figures. These they chose to interpret literally, and took great offence at them. Insomuch that many, who had been accounted his disciples, being now satisfied that his character and purposes were wholly different from what they had hoped, that he would not be their king and was very rigid in his religious requisitions, deserted him and went away. Their desertion evidently affected him; and he turned to the Twelve with something like strong feeling, and said, “Will ye also go away?" But they knew him too intimately to leave him. Though they did not fully comprehend, they deeply reverenced and loved him, and entirely believed in him. Peter answered for them all, without hesitation, "Lord, to whom should we go? thou hast the words of eternal life; and we believe and are sure that thou art the Holy One of God." Doubtless this ready and hearty reply was soothing to his Master's wounded feelings. But still there was sadness in the thought, that even of these twelve all were not to be trusted. True, said he, you believe in me; I have chosen you; and yet one even of you will be false to me;-" One of you is a devil," a false accuser, a traitor.
JESUS MAKES EXCURSIONS TO TYRE AND SIDON - TO DALMANUTHA-TO CESAREA PHILIPPI-HE SPEAKS OF HIS DEATH.
THE desire, already mentioned, to avoid the snares of Herod, who had now returned to his province, and whose capital was not far distant from Capernaum, appears to have been the reason why Jesus, immediately after the conversations just related, left his own town again, and made a distant excursion, in a northerly direction, to the borders of Tyre and Sidon. These were places of great celebrity, lying on the shore of the Mediterranean sea, near the extreme corner of Palestine. They had been assigned, in the original distribution of the country, to the tribe of Ashur; but as the ancient inhabitants were never dispossessed, they did not properly become Jewish cities. It was not therefore for the purpose of preaching the gospel that our Lord went thither, for his ministry was confined to the Jews. It must have been for some such cause as that which has just been mentioned.
For the same reason it was, that, as Mark tells us, he desired that no one might know he was
Matthew xv. 21.
Mark vii. 24.