“It is I; Don’t be afraid.” (John 6:20)

Why is this miracle so important?

After the miracle of the loaves and fish, Jesus went up alone to the hills to pray to the Supreme Being. As the darkness of the evening came, the boat with his disciples was out on the sea and a storm had brewed up, so Jesus walked out to the boat.

When the disciples saw him, they became fearful. Jesus responded with the above statement.

This miracle of Jesus is certainly well known. Why? Because many do not trust in the Supreme Being. Many might believe in God's existence, but few trust Him and rely upon Him.

And this is one reason for Jesus' miracles: For those who do not trust that God will take care of us. In other words, we need to be impressed. They need to see something extraordinary before we can trust that the Supreme Being is in control, and He can send His messenger.

As for Jesus' students, they already believed in the existence of the Supreme Being. Rather, Jesus was trying to show them that he was God's representative and that the Supreme Being gave him authority. 

What was Jesus trying to show them?

He was trying to show them that they could rely upon the Supreme Being.

What Jesus was trying to teach his disciples was trust: That they need to trust that God will take care of them. This is more clear in Matthew and Mark, where Jesus asked Peter to step out onto the water and walk out to him. After Peter doubted that he could after seeing the wind, he became afraid and called to Jesus to save him. To this, Jesus said:
"You of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matt. 14:31) 
The kind of faith that Jesus is speaking of here is not about believing that God exists. Peter certainly believed that God existed, as he was one of Jesus' most ardent students.

The faith that Jesus is speaking of is trust. Jesus wants Peter to trust that God will take care of him. Jesus wants Peter to trust that not matter what happens, the Supreme Being is there for him. He wanted him to realize that he could rely upon the Supreme Being.

This is also the case when Jesus was walking on the water, and spoke the words above to his disciples not to be afraid. Jesus wanted his disciples to understand that if one relies upon the Supreme Being, God will take care of him. Even if it means being able to walk on water.

The lesson is that each of us can rely upon the Supreme Being as well. Whatever calamity may exist before us, God is in complete control. And He cares for each and every one of us.

God is perfect, and everything that happens, happens with His authority. However, at the same time, He is always giving us the freedom of choice, as well as the ability to suffer the consequences of our prior actions. So it is not like He is pulling puppet strings or something. He is truly allowing us the ability to make our own decisions, as well as learn from those decisions.

What is the purpose of the physical world?

It is a training ground, complete with consequences. When we do something that helps others, we are rewarded with the consequences of helping others. When we do something that hurts others, we are punished by the consequences of that action. In both instances, we are being taught by the physical environment so that we can grow.

But why do we need to grow? We need to grow because we fell to the lowest point in existence: We rejected God. We decided that we didn't want to love and serve God: We decided that we wanted to be God. This, of course, is the story of Adam. Adam is analogous to each of us. Each of us disobeyed God and decided to eat of the forbidden fruit: The fruit of envy: The fruit of self-enjoyment.

Consider the parable of Adam and Eve in Genesis. God told Adam:
"you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." (Gen. 2:17)
But then the serpent said:
"You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Gen. 3:4-5)
The serpent, of course, is analogous to self-centeredness - the desire to enjoy. Thus we can understand that the fruit was analogous to becoming envious of God ("you will be like God").

So was God lying to Adam when He told Adam that if he ate the fruit he would die? Is God a liar?

Did Adam die?

Adam indeed did die, but he died spiritually. Once he ate the fruit of envy of God, he could no longer love God. He became self-centered, and thus could no longer dwell in the spiritual dimension, where love is the environment. God confirmed this in this statement:
And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."(Genesis 3:22)
In other words, because he became envious of God ("like one of us"), Adam could not taste love for God. Love for God is the "tree of life." So Adam was tossed out of the spiritual world:
So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After He drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:23-4)
God "drove" Adam out of the spiritual world - the Garden of Eden - as a result of his eating of the fruit of envy, in other words. He also put a barrier in place to prevent Adam from getting back to the spiritual world and resuming love for God: This is the illusion of the physical world, which prevents us from accessing the spiritual dimension.

So where did Adam go, if he were banished from the Garden of Eden? Adam assumed a physical body in the physical world. This is confirmed:
The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. (Gen. 3:21)

What are "garments of skin?"

Most depictions of this event show Adam suddenly getting an animal skin to wear. But the text does not say he was given an animal skin. He says they were given "garments of skin."

This means they were given physical bodies. A physical body is a garment of skin. A physical body is a cloak or a covering over the spiritual individual.

This is illustrated at death. When the body dies, the spiritual individual leaves and the body drops lifeless to the ground. It is no different than removing clothes: All day we may be walking around in our clothes, but at the end of the day, we take them off, and they will lie lifeless on the ground.

Furthermore, "to work the ground from which he had been taken" illustrates that the body Adam was given came from the physical world ("ground").

The bottom line of this affair is that if Adam had trusted that God was telling him not to eat the analogous fruit of envy for his own good he would not have eaten it. Rather, Adam did not trust that God had his interest at heart. Adam doubted God and distrusted God.

This same distrust exists within us even as we are in these physical bodies. We distrust when God comes to ask us to come home to Him. We distrust God's representatives when they tell us that God will take care of us and we can rely upon Him.

What keeps us away from God?

Distrust keeps us away from God. This distrust simply keeps us here in this world of suffering:
"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life." (Gen. 3:17)
In other words, the fruit of envy and self-centeredness causes us nothing but suffering. This is what the physical world teaches us.

God also has mercy, however. He truly cares for us. Should we decide to change, we have a way back home, back to the spiritual world (Garden of Eden). That way has been delivered by God's representative:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)