For they had not understood about the loaves, because their hearts was hardened! One translation put it this way; none of this had permeated their hearts. That is what the Bible said about the disciples. This wasn’t talking about the Jewish leaders who wanted Jesus dead. These were the twelve who walked with Jesus during His earthly ministry. So let me read that again and let it permeate your heart, for they had not understood about the loaves because their hearts was hardened. Oh don’t think we are any better than they were. We are all in the same boat … well metaphorically, because the disciples were about ready to get into a boat.
Jesus did the impossible. He fed five thousand men plus women and children with five loaves of bread and two fish. Then everyone ate till they were full, and the disciples gathered twelve baskets of bread from the leftovers.
After seeing this miracle the people wanted to make him King. Unlike the Jewish leaders who gave no credence to Jesus at all, the common people thought Jesus was the Prophet, so they were ready to take Jesus by force and make Him King. Jesus knew the crowd; He knew their intentions, so He went to a mountain by Himself.
Then in John chapter six and verse sixteen, so when evening came his disciples went down to the sea, and went over the sea towards Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they rowed three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the water and drawing near the boat, and they were afraid. But Jesus said to them, it is I, do not be afraid.
So here were the disciples, trying to get across the sea and a big storm kicked up. Mark gave more details of the story in his gospel. He wrote, then Jesus saw them rowing for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and He would have passed them by. But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost and cried out.
I remember years ago, my brother and I rented small boat to go fishing on a reservoir in the mountains of Colorado, an afternoon storm kicked up out of nowhere and we were maybe a mile away from the dock. The rain came down, the wind blew every which way, and the waves tossed us around. The little motor on the boat did all it could to fight the waves. It churned; we hardly moved. My brother had that thing hammered; yet we went nowhere except where the waves pushed us. But that was nothing compared to what the disciples faced, and then to have Jesus walk on the water in the fourth watch of the night thinking He was a ghost.
Fortunately, Jesus called out to his disciples, it is I, don’t be afraid. Then in Mark 6:51, then He went up into the boat with them. The winds ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves, beyond measure, and marveled for they had not understood about the loaves, because their hearts were hardened. The disciples were with Jesus all this time, they watched Him do countless miracles and great things, yet despite all of that, they didn’t understand who Jesus was.
One commentator said the disciples did not yet accept Jesus as God, they just saw the miracles as divine interventions upon His life. The truth of Jesus Christ did not go from their head to their heart; it did not permeate their hearts. They did not apply His truth to their lives, so their heart became hardened. They were less and less sensitive to the things of God.
There is a nugget of truth tucked away in Psalms 55 and the last half of verse 19. If we are not careful, we can so easily read right over it, pass right by it and miss one of those golden nuggets of God’s word. If we do not apply God’s word to our lives, if we don’t correct our lives to line up with the Word of God, we too become insensitive to the things of God, our hearts become hardened. King David wrote in Psalms 55 and the last half of verse 19, because they do not change, therefore, they do not fear God.