22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.
23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.
24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
Also found in Mark 6:47-52 and John 6:16-21.
made (v.22) = compelled, by threat, entreaty, force or persuasion
evening (v.23) — probably around 6:00 pm
in the middle (v.24) — The Sea of Galilee is about six miles wide at this point (eight miles at its widest and 13 miles at its longest).
fourth watch (v.25) — between 3:00 and 6:00 a.m.
The Sea of Galilee is tucked between hills and is subject to violent storms. Several of the disciples were fishermen who knew boats well. In at least nine hours, they had only managed between three and four miles of rowing. It would have been easier, I imagine, for them to turn the boat around and run before the wind. But their loyalty to Christ, who said to meet Him on the other side, or His compelling them to go — or probably both — kept them rowing.