John 6:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 6:17, NIV: "where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them."

John 6:17, ESV: "got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them."

John 6:17, KJV: "And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them."

John 6:17, NASB: "and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. It had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them."

John 6:17, NLT: "But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn't come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum."

John 6:17, CSB: "got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. Darkness had already set in, but Jesus had not yet come to them."

What does John 6:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The crowd's reaction to Jesus most public miracle is inherently dangerous, especially for the disciples. Not only is the crowd acting aggressively (John 6:15), but the Roman authorities won't look kindly on anyone involved in political unrest. Worse, the massive popularity of Jesus risks inflating the disciples' sense of self-importance. As with all of His miracles, there is a lesson to be learned, and so Jesus separates these men from the situation (Mark 6:45). Interestingly, the gospel of Mark makes a point of mentioning that, at the time the disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee, they did not yet understand Jesus' miraculous feeding (Mark 6:52).

This command also serves to set up an additional miracle and an additional lesson. According to this verse, "Jesus had not yet come to them." This phrasing seems strange, unless one remembers that John wrote long after the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were in circulation. His assumption is that those stories are known to the reader. Mark chapter 6 provides more details on Jesus' instructions and His observation of the men during their struggle.

As the next verse will indicate, obeying Jesus' commands led the disciples directly into a tough spot. This is an often-missed truth of the Christian life: obedience does not always produce comfort. In fact, there are times when following God's will means experiencing backlash from the world (Acts 5:27–33). There is a purpose to those trials, however, and we can rest assured knowing that God watches over us all the time (Psalm 146:9).