Sermon: The Better Exodus with the Better Moses (Part 2) John 6:16-21

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The Better Exodus with the Better Moses (Part 2)

John 6:16-21

Primary Truth Taught: Jesus’ ministry parallels Moses’ ministry proving that He is the Messiah/Prophet who was to come into the world.


Deuteronomy 18:15–19 (ESV)

15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.

Jesus has just fed the 5000 with a few loaves and a couple of fish. If you remember from last time that this was proof that Jesus is a better Moses and the Prophet who was to come because Moses prayed and God supplied manna for the people. In John 6, Jesus gives thanks but feeds the five thousand by His own power. Showing His divine nature and power.

These people, for the most part were not believers, they were there because of the miracles Jesus was performing…

John 6:2 (ESV)

And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick.

By the time we got to verse 15 last week, the people were ready to take Him by force and make Him their king. They thought it would be a good thing to have a king who could heal their sick and feed them. They were those who had the mentality that we want someone who will give us stuff. Freebees and handouts are what drive many people. Today’s politicians understand this far too well. Make people promises and give them free things, a check in the mail and food and you can secure their support.

Jesus doesn’t need anyone to make Him king. He is already King. Not only is Jesus King but He is King of Kings. They wanted one who could give them peace and comfort. Jesus shows us here in this passage that He is the end for which our faith is given. He also shows us that following Jesus can place us in some precarious ways. I’ve heard the statement that the safest place is in the middle of God’s will. This passage shows us that in many ways that statement is not true.

Jesus had just feed them by divine power, creating bread and fish out of thin air and all they see is someone who can give them things…
Instead of falling down before Him as undone sinners, crying for mercy; instead of prostrating themselves at His feet, in reverent worship; instead of owning Him as the Blessed One, worthy of their heart’s adoration, they would take Him by force to make Him king (6:15); and this no doubt, for their own ends, thinking that He would lead them in a successful revolt against the hated Romans. How empty, then were their words![1]

Human Need Met

Will you trust Jesus in all circumstances? Will you follow where He leads even if the place where He leads in in the midst of a storm? Will you row hard into the eye of the storm if that’s where Jesus sends you? These are some questions we should ask ourselves. Following Christ leads us to places where we need Jesus for safety.

John 6:16–21 (ESV)

16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

  1. Walking on Water, a Better Red Sea Miracle

Exodus 14:21–22 (ESV)

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

John 6:16ff

16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened.

We should see that God parted the Red Sea not Moses. God had told Moses that through him He would work His miracles. Moses was God’s spokesman or Prophet and God’s instrument to work miracles. It was the Lord who parted the Red Sea not Moses. The miracle came as God held back the water and caused a wind to blow, drying out the land once covered by water. So, the Israelites crossed on dry ground with a wall of water on either side.

By comparison, we see a better Moses when Jesus does not call on God to part the sea but rather in His own divine power walks on top the water. He does not need to part the water because He is God and Creator, Jesus can simply walk on top of it, disregarding all laws of nature. He is Lord of all creation.

Notice that Jesus sent His beloved disciples into the sea, into the darkness and into the storm.

In John’s Gospel he often connects darkness with the absence of Christ. He does so here. Jesus was not with His disciples and they were in darkness. This was the darkness that Jesus had sent them into.

Mark 6:45 (ESV)

45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.

Matthew 14:22 (ESV)

22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.

So, Jesus the better Moses sends His disciples into the middle of the sea right into the heart of danger. Why?
19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened.

The Sea of Galilee where they were was about 6 miles wide. So, rowing about 3-31/2 miles places them about halfway across or right in the middle. They couldn’t be in more danger than they were in, middle of the sea, in the dark, in a storm, all alone.

What did Jesus want to teach them? It wasn’t until I read all the accounts in the other Gospels that I learned why.

His followers still believed in many ways like the crowd. They didn’t have it fixed yet in their minds who Jesus is or what kind of Messiah-king He was to be.

Mark’s account tells us at the end why Jesus did what He did.

Mark 6:51–52 (ESV)

51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

In some ways, the disciples at this point wanted Jesus to be king much the same way the crowd did. They didn’t see true greatness, they saw free food…they didn’t understand about the loaves and the fish. They didn’t get it.

His disciples needed a first hand experience that would once and for all show them who Jesus is. This experience would instill great faith in His followers. So much so that in a few verses when the crowds leave in disappointment because Jesus failed to be their kind of king, the disciples stay. They need to be afraid, they need to cry out in fear, they need to see Jesus as One who can easily accomplish everything He promises.

  1. God is with You, a Better Burning Bush

20 But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

Exodus 3:13–14 (ESV)

13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ”

It is very clear in the Greek text. The original language has ego eimi. So, strictly speaking the Greek text has Jesus responding this way: But He said to them I Am; do not be afraid.

God told Moses that He was sending him to rescue His people. When Moses asked who should he say has sent me, God answers you tell them that I Am is sending you. Moses went for God to rescue His people.

Jesus tells His people I Am is here with you. No one sent Jesus that night. No one said to Jesus you tell them I Am is sending you because Jesus is the great I Am. He rescues His people himself. He is the better Moses of the better Exodus.

Once they had Jesus in the boat with them notice the next series of miracles…the sea goes smooth, the wind dies down, and then something many may overlook, they notice that they’re on the bank of Capernaum. So, they look up and rather than being in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, they’re at the other side. They didn’t have to cross the sea.

Moses led the Israelites through the Red Sea to the other side. However, Jesus takes them in a twinkling of an eye to the other side.

Don’t forget that the writer of this Gospel, John was one sitting in the midst of this boat and witnessed all Jesus did. When He saw Jesus and all His glory, he realized who Jesus really is. He saw Him as the better Moses. He heard Jesus’ words call out from the middle of the raging sea and from the howl of the wind I AM do not be afraid!

  1. Jesus’ Disciples are Often Called Into Storms

Here’s where we fit in. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we too will be sent into the storm, into the darkness and into the middle of fear. Why does He send us there? Jesus sends us into the eye of the storm to show us His greatness and glory. You see if we’re never in the storm, we would never cry out. If we’re never in trials we would never understand that Jesus, as it were, calls out I AM do not be afraid. If we never suffer in this world we would never see the miracle of being translated someday to the other side.

Our Lord sends us into storms knowing full well what He’s doing.

Exodus 3:7 (ESV)

Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings,

Matthew 14:25 (ESV)

25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea.

Mark’s account says that Jesus saw them and here we read that He went to them. So, Jesus will send us out into the storm and He is willing to go there with us. He sees us and comes to us and because of the storm, we see Him.

The disciples needed their view of Jesus expanded past seeing Him as someone who would give them things such as free food, health, and a free country. They needed to understand that they could have everything taken away. They could be in the eye of the storm, in darkness, and in danger but as long as Jesus is there, they have all they ever need.

You see beloved, darkness comes, storms rage, boats rock, Jesus saves.

Psalm 107:23–32 (ESV)

23    Some went down to the sea in ships,

doing business on the great waters;

24    they saw the deeds of the Lord,

his wondrous works in the deep.

25    For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,

which lifted up the waves of the sea.

26    They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;

their courage melted away in their evil plight;

27    they reeled and staggered like drunken men

and were at their wits’ end.

28    Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

and he delivered them from their distress.

29    He made the storm be still,

and the waves of the sea were hushed.

30    Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,

and he brought them to their desired haven.

31    Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

for his wondrous works to the children of man!

32    Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,

and praise him in the assembly of the elders.


Our Lord is the promised Messiah-King who came into the world. He is the better Moses of the better Exodus. He will lead us home to the other side, to the Promised Land to the very gates of Heaven. May we thank the Lord for His steadfast love for His wondrous deeds.
Sometimes while following our Lord we are taken to the still waters for refreshment and peace, other times, He sends out out into the storm to learn to trust Him and depend on Him. The storm shows us our Savior in ways we never would have seen apart from the suffering.

“Some suffering is given in order to chastise and correct a person for wrongful patterns of life (as in the case of Jonah imperiled by the storm), some suffering is given not to correct past wrongs but to prevent future ones (as in the case of Joseph sold into slavery), and some suffering has no purpose other than to lead a person to love God more ardently for himself alone and so discover the ultimate peace and freedom.”[2]



Declaration of Grace

In the mercy and grace of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ He gives the power to become the children of God and gives to them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen


[1] Gospel of John by A. W. Pink page 305

[2] Timothy Keller, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, 47


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