All at Sea
Father, today I want to worship You, and open myself to Your Word and will. Speak to me now through Your Word.
Read MARK 6:45-56
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Think of a time—maybe now!—when God seemed very distant and life was really tough. Remember the experience and what sustained you, and turn your thoughts into prayer.
The theme of Jesus thrusting his disciples into the front line continues. They’ve just risked huge embarrassment, setting out to feed 5,000 men from their own meager supplies. Now, Jesus “compels” them (literal reading, v. 45) to climb into the boat at the end of the day (when they probably would have preferred spending the night where they were), and row to Bethsaida without him. Presumably, he knew that a storm was coming, even if they didn’t!
Mark seems to enjoy the symbolic quality of these stories, because they picture the life of faith for us. The disciples are thrown into an impossible situation, where they either sink or row. When Jesus eventually turns up, things get worse: he seems to increase the horror and danger. The horror and danger turn out to be his coming to them, but rescue emerges unexpectedly. Does this fit with your experience of him?
If the disciples had “understood about the loaves” (52), they might have understood that the things we worry about are no problem for Jesus. He knows we’ll be OK. The disciples might have seen the background to the loaves and the storm in Psalm 107, which pictures the Lord God feeding and sustaining Israel on the way home from exile and, in particular, stilling the storms that threaten to swamp the travelers (Psa. 107:23-30). Maybe the disciples would have understood that it was more important for Jesus to be alone, praying to his Father, than letting them avoid the challenge of radical trust. Maybe I’ll understand that, too, the next time I’m in a storm and wonder if I can cope! The simple, clear faith of the Galilean crowds (53-56) — that’s what I need.
What might God be saying to you through this passage? In what way is he calling you to radical trust now?
Loving Father, I need to have trusting faith as I navigate the storms of life. Remind me again that You are always with me.
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