Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 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. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.
(John 6:15-21 ESV)
Beginning with his first miracle in John 2 (the Wedding at Cana), Jesus has been progressively building to grander and grander miracles. Here are two or three in succession. But it isn’t the miracles themselves we want to focus on today, as amazing as they are.
You may be familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators. They help people who work as part of a team learn how to work closely with others without being driven crazy by the differences in personality styles. ENFP is short-hand for “Extrovert – Intuitive – Feeling – Perceiving.” Look at what the disciples experienced about Jesus:
That Jesus was an Extrovert may seem like an understatement. Here were the crowds trying to take him by force to make him king! Jesus had no problem standing up in public and speaking boldly. He loved people, and was rarely alone. Jesus was also intuitive. He went off alone when he needed to in order to get in touch with deeper things. Sometimes that combination can be very disarming. Here’s the Master who is always right out there in front of everyone and all of a sudden he disappears and heads up a mountain to be alone.
Did one of us on the team offend him? What did we do wrong?
Feeling. Jesus felt deeply the things he felt and attuned well to the feelings of others. He must have come to the disciples for a reason when they were out in the middle of the Sea. We never really find out what that reason was. But the first thing he says to them when they see him on the water is, “Don’t be afraid.” He felt no fear walking on water in the middle of a storm at sea. He didn’t want them to feel fear either.
The passage begins with the word “perceiving.” He could see into people’s motives and plans. Sure he was extraordinary that way, but really that part didn’t take a miracle. He just perceived that they were going to try and force kingship on him.
Maybe you’re an ISTJ as part of Jesus’ team. An Introvert – Sensing – Thinking – Judging person would have a tough time understanding how an ENFP works! I’m no expert on Myers-Briggs. In fact, even in writing this sort of tongue-in-cheek assessment of Jesus I’ve probably completely misrepresented Myers-Briggs. But if you’ve ever felt like you can’t relate personally to what you’re experiencing of Jesus in the Gospels, it may be that you’re trying to apply the way you’re wired to Jesus.
He isn’t remote. He puts himself right out there. He has great intuitive ways. He feels deeply and loves deeply. And he is not primarily here to judge. Maybe understanding that will give you the peace to be who you are in his presence.
PS… any big Myers-Briggs people out there who want to set me straight… feel free.