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John 6:21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

Some preachers believe that this was a miracle. Was it?

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  • It should be translated as "as soon as"
    – Michael16
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 16:51

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This is an important question because it goes the peculiar use of Koine Greek idiom.

Thge Greek adverb of time, εὐθέως (eutheós), clearly means, "at once, immediately" (BDAG). However, this does NOT mean, as per modern idiom, that it happened instantly. It simply means that it occurred without further delay. Here are some examples of things that clearly occurred over the space of either an hour or more (or even longer) that are described with this adverb:

  • Matt 21:2 - the disciples are told to go to the village and "immediately" they see a a donkey = the next thing as you walk into the village
  • Matt 25:15 - the rich man "immediately took his journey" does not mean that he arrived at his destination but he started on that journey after distributing the talants
  • Mark 1;21 - "immediately went to the synagogue", that is, after leaving the boat Jesus walked straight up to the synagogue, without teleportation, etc. The walk possibly lasted 10 or 20 minutes(?)
  • Mark 1:28 - news "immediately" spread throughout the region - this process probably took a few days which is why most versions translate it, "quickly" - news traveled fast!
  • Mark 1:29 - left the synagogue and arrived at Simon and Andrew's house = went straight there a walk of unknown duration but without any suggestion of teleportation
  • Mark 4:5 - seed sprang up "immediately" - most versions correctly render this case as "quickly", probably over the space of a few weeks.

Thus, in John 6:21, I would understand the boat arrived "immediately" at the shore as indicating they went straight there in agreement with Matthew and Mark's account - no suggestion of teleportation etc. The arrival was without delay and the next thing that happened.

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  • Fine answer: +1 Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 10:59
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Interesting Scriptural study of “euthéos”.

Have you also spent time looking at Acts 8:39,40? Being “snatched away by the Spirit” seems different from walking on a journey, including the statement that “Philip found himself in Azotus”. There seems to be a supernatural element here, especially in light of the demonstration of God’s power on display as mentioned in 8:6-8,13, and angelic involvement in v.26. Plenty here to lead us to believe that these were not ordinary occurrences. JK/Colorado

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John 6:21 says “immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.”

It is either teleportation, or John has a theory that to will to be with Jesus is to be at the land where you are going. It is to be truly present. I think the story is far more powerful if understanding jesus pulls you out of the past and out of the future and grounds you now.

It makes everywhere you are equal to where you are going. That seems way more powerful than imputing teleportation powers on Jesus.

The knowledge of good and bad (Eden) is the fruit of how things should be different, not how they are. That knowledge is the fruit that Christ is the antidote to. At least that is my way of understanding freedom from sin.

Also, one walks on water when one’s ego evaporates. The ego is what Jesus identifies with in the garden (“I am”) and then kills on the cross in John 18-19. That is why he can “walk on water.” He is “empty” as in Philippians 2. Makes him float nicely. :)

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Yes, it's a miracle. The miraculous interpretation depends heavily on the meaning of the word "immediately" (eutheós). The most relevant uses of the word eutheós are presumably the ones in John where it appears three times:

John 6:21

... immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading

John 5:8,9

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

John 18:26,27

One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

In the latter two examples, eutheós means "immediately."

This happens in other gospels too:

Matthew 4:20

Immediately they left their nets (Jesus calling Peter and Andrew)

Matthew 4:22

Immediately they left the boat (Jesus calling James and John)

Matthew 8:3

...And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Matthew 14:3

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Matthew 20:34

So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.

In all, there are 36 occurrences of "eutheōs" and quite a few of them do indeed mean instantly including a number of miraculous events.

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  • @ jhughes - It's best not to answer a question with a question in the opening comments. You seem to get a little off-topic here. The questions deals with the miraculous implications, not the chronological inferences. So this should be dealt with in more depth. Thanks for your input. Peace.
    – ray grant
    Commented Jan 31 at 20:56
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    Answering a question with a question? Sure. I've edited my answer to eliminate that. About being off-topic, the question itself draws a link between the chronology (the word immediately is in bold) and the miracle. The two questions are closely related.
    – jhughes
    Commented Feb 18 at 20:43
  • @ jhughes - Point well taken! As in many ancient languages, one word can have several usages (e.g. "ago" in Latin has dozens of usages!) Hermeneutically, the context determines which one. And yes, the miraculous deeds done by Jesus often had "immediate" results! That substantiates their claim to being miraculous. They weren't just medical cures. Keep on doing research, we all will benefit! Peace.
    – ray grant
    Commented Feb 18 at 22:27

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