Mark 6:45-51 NLT
Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home. After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them, but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. They were all terrified when they saw him. But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed.
In Matthew, we have Peter getting out of the boat.
Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come, Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
This story begins right after they have seen the miracle of the loaves and fish. So, as I look at this unfold I have to keep in mind that they have had a long day of doing ministry. They are tired, and yet emotionally charged. They have heard incredible teaching and seen the power of God displayed before their eyes. As they row through the night they really are not even able to rest from the already full day that they have had. So, I personally come at this story from the perspective of some very tired and weary bodies. Men who want rest, not to have to endure and fight against stormy waters. Why couldn’t tonight be peaceful and calm? After all, they had been doing good works all day. Wouldn’t it be nice if life worked that way. However, I find it is often when I am tired and feel like I need rest that often the winds pick up.
So, I feel for these guys in the boat. I empathize with their longing for rest and to just get to the place Jesus told them to go, without interruption. I know when I am tired that I don’t process and filter things the same way. Area’s that I might be strong at normally, when I am tired, I can seem to be the opposite. I can overreact to situations. For example, if someone came to me in a normal situation and vocalized words that could potentially be wounding. I often work that out very differently in my heart when I am tired verses when I am well rested. When I am exhausted, I can decide life is too big and too hard. When I am rested I can look at life and assess things much differently. So, I see a group of exhausted men who have some great victories from the previous day, but just want rest as they head in a certain direction. However, instead they are forced to deal with another storm.
I understand their frustration. I understand their overreaction to Jesus coming on the water. I understand their fear. I have been in that boat.
Then Peter does the unthinkable. Who would even think about walking on water just because Jesus did? I am not sure my mind would have gone there, but it has in other ways. I can relate to the question, “If it is you, tell me to come”. I have many times wondered if things were God and wanted Him to speak something directly to my heart. Yet, when he has, I have sometimes lost faith. I want to be a risk taker, someone who gets out of the boat, someone who is not afraid of the storms, but when the water hits me in the face, my fears overtake my boldness. I am like Peter. Even tired, he wants more. He wants to not just see it happen, but to be a part of it. He wants it to be personal. This is the part of Peter I do understand. I am not satisfied to hear that Jesus did something, I want to join Him in what He is doing. I want to step out in the places he is walking and live like I really believe he is who he says he is.
This will require getting out of the place of safety. This will require letting the spirit rule, not the flesh. This will require risk and trust. This will mean impossible becomes possible. What could getting out of the boat look like applied to our lives?
Karen says:January 17, 2014 at 10:01 am
This parable puts to my mind the Boy Scout’s motto: BE PREPARED!
1. Be prepared to not understand all that Jesus does.
2. Be prepared to feel exhausted after ministry.
3. Be prepared to be asked by God to head out (seemingly) ALONE.
4. Be prepared for storms.
5. Be prepared to have Jesus come along side when you least expect it.
6. Be prepared to have your world turned upside down.
7. Be prepared for HIS PEACE when Jesus steps into your “boat”.
Mark writes that “none of this (miracle at supper) had yet penetrated their hearts.”
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all your HEART and lean not on your OWN understanding;” This is the KEY to that Boy Scout motto.
Lord, daily work in Karen so that she learns to TRUST YOU completely and in the trusting I will be prepared for my life!!!!
Jim Holmes says:January 17, 2014 at 3:12 pm
As if the miracles that Jesus did earlier wasn’t enough, Jesus continuous to take his disciples on another wild “drive”. This guy drives his disciples away (to cross the sea ahead of him) and then he sent away the people and then chose to go it alone in prayer…spending time with His Father. Another passage in time takes place and Jesus is alone…and sees them out in the middle of the sea trying to row against the wind. So… Here comes Jesus walking on the water.
The scripture says that He would have passed them by. Many times we choose to go it alone with all the consequences to follow…good or bad. And with fear…we come to God, or we draw back from Him (like that when God came down to speak with the Israelites….the people drew back out of fear, but Moses fearfully approached God). God is with us, knows our circumstances, and waits for us to acknowledge Him and our need, our dependence on Him. He wants to open the door to commune with Him and He with you. Sometimes, it takes desperate measures, to tell us that we are not in control…that we need to always…abide in Him…to invite Him into our lives and circumstances. He is our hope and our faith is in Him. In the disciples’ shoes, we too would find it unsettling to be struggling to get somewhere to a destination (the other side) that is out of reach and out of our control (the wind). It takes something or someone to remove the obstacle.
Before Christ, Heaven was out of reach, because we had another master…the devil. Eternal Life was out of reach because Sin separated us from God. Jesus bridged the gap for us, taking our sins and nailing them to a tree. The Prince of Peace calmed the storm….the anguish of our hearts, having been sold under sin, deserving death…and reconciled us to God, making peace, bringing us into relationship with Him. When we called out to Him, Jesus heard. Jesus got into our boat, and the obstacle was taken away, and He gave us His peace.
A miracle…a peace that passes our understanding. Our fear is gone in the Presence of the One who loved us and died for us. To the amazement and wonder of it all, let us pursue Him with all we have and are. With Him, we are on the other side.
Pat McRae says:January 18, 2014 at 12:49 am
I wonder why Jesus had to insist the disciples should leave before Him, get into a boat and go to the other side, could it be fear? Seasoned sailors, fishermen, afraid to go? Maybe they didn’t remember the miracles and the witness of God’s power but they certainly remembered almost drowning and Jesus was with them. That is so like me! But God last time I stepped out in what I thought was Your will look what happened. Past results have away of determining how we view future requests.
But even though they were hesitant to go they were obedient and YEP! just knew it the storm starts. I don’t read they are afraid of the storm just that they keep toiling against it. Wow past experience is telling them to keep going Jesus gave them a destination and they are showing a determination to make it. I see that obedience and determination to do what is requested can over rule the negative view we may have.
Now they see Jesus coming, not in a boat, but walking on the water. I think if I had been in that boat I too would of been troubled seeing what I believe is Jesus walking on water. Jesus didn’t rebuke them, He just reassured them. Be happy I am here and there will be calm.
I love this passage because Jesus sees us when we are struggling and He knows we may not recognize Him when He shows up but He comes anyway. He comes to reassure us He cares and He will calm our storms in this life, in His way and in His time. We will make our destination with Him so we can be happy and remember He is our all in all.
Susan Craig says:January 18, 2014 at 1:15 am
Like Peter,I got out of the boat this week-I spent alot of time listening and waiting for guidance and clear direction as I considered getting out of the boat. I had tried getting out of the boat before-on my own-but I ended up retreating back into the familiarity of the boat-I was comfortable in the boat where I felt secure in all that the boat provided for me- it was mostly self reliance and the fear of the future that kept me in the boat alot longer than I probably should have been. This week I was given permission to get out of the boat and with my eyes on Jesus, I have taken my first faltering steps away from my self reliance and self-security into the vast unknown-much like the sea was and is to the fishermen. Coming from a small town in Cape Breton on the Atlantic ocean, the unpredictability and vastness of the sea/ocean is well known by those who live so close to it. Fishermen can be out to sea in their boats trying to make a living for their families when unexpectedly the sea changes-suddenly a storm in otherwise calm seas can cause fear/anxiety to cast a shadow over the men in the boat. I really understand that feeling-that fear can keep a person from making any changes or rocks the boat so to speak. Even when being in the boat was no longer working well for me-getting out of the boat was absolutely terrifying. The fact that Peter wanted to get out of the boat and do what Jesus was doing was bold and even courageous of him and Jesus recognizing that in Peter, gave him permission to get out of the boat and walk on the water. But Peter’s initial boldness was replaced by fear when he looked at the huge waves all around him. He took his eyes off Jesus and started to sink. Have you ever had that happen to you-you take a bold step out of your security zone and with God’s blessing take some steps into the vast unknown eager to serve and be like our Master only to have fear and anxiety overcome you when problems arise and you start to sink. I know I have had that experience before and that is why I took alot longer this time to take that step out of my boat. Away from the boat’s security, how would I be able to provide for my needs and my family’s needs? I don’t know what your boat is but mine was my nursing career. This week I made the decision to give up nursing due to persistant health issues caused mostly by the stress and anxiety of trying to keep up with the demands of the changing workplace. But my husband hasn’t always been able to provide sufficiently and consistantly for our needs with his work so I already know that I can’t always depend on his income. So,like Peter,I have stepped out of my comfort zone and with my eyes on Jesus,I have said goodbye to the only income I have ever been sure of for the past 33 years. So what can I learn from this story-to keep my eyes and mind and heart fixed on Jesus and trust that He will make a way for me to survive the stormy unknown seas around me-that He will make a way and will provide for me whatever is needed in the days and weeks and months and years remaining in my life. This is a big leap of faith on my part and to be honest,it is also a scary place to be. Help me Lord to keep my eyes on You and when I start to fear or feel like I am going to drown,reach out to me with Your Hand and give me the courage to reach out to You with my hand too so we can face the future together! Help me to trust in the sure fact that You love me,You will provide for my needs,and You will never abandon me. Thank you Lord for all the daily blessings You have given me! Increase my faith!!