WHEN JESUS COMES ABOARD
Lord, please come aboard my ship.
Read MARK 6:45–56
Jesus Walks on the Water
45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.
Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
53 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.
New International Version (NIV)
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“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’”(Hebrews 13:5b).
While Jesus takes time out from His ministry(see also yesterday’s notes), He sends His disciples across the Sea of Galilee. With a strong headwind, the journey is far from easy. This episode is marked by five actions of Jesus – He sends, sees, comes, speaks, and boards. First, Jesus knowingly sends the disciples (cf. Mark 2:8), into an adverse situation. We cannot be certain, but Jesus appears to be testing their trust in Him after having experienced a similar situation earlier (Mark 4:35–41).
Next, Jesus sees their struggle and comes to them, although not immediately. There is a significant time lapse between His seeing their need in the evening (47) and His coming to them early in the morning (48). This should reassure us that Jesus sees our need and comes to our aid, even when it does not happen straight away. When Jesus reaches the disciples, He addresses them in their distress and climbs aboard, at which moment the danger passes. “It is I” (v 50) is literally “I AM”, echoing God’s self-revelation to Moses(Exod 3:14). When the Son of God, who can still storms, heal the sick, and feed the hungry, steps into our situation, we need not be afraid.
The disciples react in various ways when Jesus joins them in their adversity. First, they cry out and are terrified because they fail to recognize Jesus. Second, after Jesus comes aboard and the storm ceases, they are astounded because they have missed the meaning of the loaves (52). The explanation Mark sets forth suggests that the disciples should know that if Jesus can miraculously provide food, then He can also provide in other situations of need. Faith is the proper response to challenging situations (cf. Mark 2:4,5), but the disciples too often respond with fear or amazement.
When you face an adverse situation, how do you react? Have faith and be encouraged that God sees your situation and comes to you.
Lord, open the eyes of our understanding when it comes to lessons we should have learned years ago.