After Jesus fed the five thousand with the five loaves the people wanted to seize him to make him king. That was very much to the liking of the Apostles, but Jesus did not let them stay to share in his fame. He made them reluctantly pull out onto the water in a boat big enough for them all; then he avoided the crowd by slipping up onto the mountain.
Making things worse, the Apostles pulled out into a wild storm that was throwing them about, making them fear that death was upon them. The Gospel’s account of that night near death was actually a parable.
The body of water on which that storm came up was known as the Lake of Galilee, but it was actually just a wide place in the Jordan River. (We have a similar thing here where a wide place in the St. John’s River eighty miles south of here is known as Lake George.) Now, from ancient times the Bible regarded the Jordan River as the death one must pass through to reach the Promised Land. We hear that in songs where we sing, “Show me that stream called the River Jordan, that’s the old stream what I longs to cross.” Also, “Deep river, my home is over Jordan.”
So the threat of death faced by the Apostles that night was a metaphor for the fear of death which each of us will face one day. The message of this Bible story is that Jesus, who can walk on water, has overcome death. We must trust that he will come to us at that hour, and that he will take us safely to the other shore.