Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination! (John 6:21)
Relate: I was walking down the street, minding my own business when the sound of it scared me out of my socks. I thought there was blue skies above but the thunder clap was a violent reminder that I hadn’t been paying attention. The sun was still shining to the southeast but overhead, behind and swiftly covering the sky were clouds much closer to black than grey. The wind began picking up and I started to increase my pace knowing that I would never make the mile to my destination before the heavens opened and started pouring out rain.
The first few drops had just reached me when I saw her ahead. She was more of an acquaintance than a friend but we did often ride the bus together so I knew she was also heading my way. Most importantly, she had an umbrella. I quickened my pace and even before I could ask, she offered to share. The storm was strong and hard and we both were drenched on our feet and lower legs, but it was a fun walk. I learned then that she actually went to another local church and we talked or rather shouted together for the next twenty minutes as we made our way to the bus station. Funniest thing, that the storm almost completely stopped almost to the instant we were out of the elements. It was almost as if God brought that storm just to drive us together for that walk.
React: I could say that immediately after we joined together under the umbrella we arrived at our destination. This might not make sense with our normal understanding of the word, but it would fit just fine with the Greek word eutheos which is translated in John as “immediately”. This word pops up all over the place in the gospels and depending on the translation you might also see it appear as “straightway”, “forthwith”, or “directly”. It is this last which best fits with how I understand “Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination”. I think it would be wise for us to think “after that” every time we see the word “immediately” in the gospels.
Why do I bring this up? I have found that some people sometimes create a miracle here and in some other instances of “immediately” where there isn’t necessarily one implied in the Greek. Could Jesus have instantaneously transported them, Star Trek style, right to the shore as soon as he arrived in the boat. Sure. If that is what the Father willed, that is what Jesus did. Personally, I think when we read such a miracle into the story we lose sight of the importance of what is actually happening. The disciples should have waited but they didn’t. They set out and as a result, they were caught in a storm. In spite of this, Jesus came to them walking on the water. He wanted to be with them and no storm was keeping them away. They eagerly invited Him in and He brought them through the storm. This is an illustration of love and fellowship even when it is undeserved. Our desire for something sensational might distract us from the joy that can be ours when He comes walking in the rain.
God, I am so grateful that You continue to pursue me. Even when I want to go my own way, You are still right there. Even when I find myself getting caught out in the storms of life, You come walking on the water. Let me open my eyes that I might see. Give me a heart that is open and eager to let You in. Be with me. Stay with me. And even if the “immediately” of getting to the other side takes longer than I might like, let me never doubt that I am getting there with You.