Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 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, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.
Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
(Mark 6:45-52 NIV).
This incident occurred immediately after the miraculous feeding of the five thousand. The people were ready to crown Jesus as their earthly king. However, that was not why Jesus came, nor what they needed. The people were not in need of another political superhero. What they needed was one who would save them from their sins, from their own blind rebellion.
Jesus sent the disciples away, to their next mission on the other side of the Sea of Galilee while He went to the mountain to pray, to rejuvenate, to re-focus His attention on His true mission. The disciples encountered a strong wind (storm) while rowing to the other side of the lake. Apparently, this storm had been going on for at least six hours. Jesus sees them in distress from the mountain and walks on the water towards them. The disciples see Him but think He is a ghost and are terrified. In verse 50 Jesus identifies Himself and admonishes them not to be afraid. He then climbs in the boat with them and the storm ceases.
Why does adversity come our way when we are following God’s directive? In this story Jesus tells the disciples to get in the boat and go to the other side of the lake. While being obedient to His command a storm arises. Their efforts to continue across the lake were thwarted by the incessant winds. They had just experienced the mighty miracle of the feeding of the five thousand and then came a battle with a storm. Why couldn’t they enjoy the triumph of their recent success?
Doug Van Meter, pastor of Brakenhurst Baptist Church in South Africa explains it this way. “They were experiencing a miracle and yet were in danger of being blind to the identity of Jesus. (They at first thought he was a ghost walking on the water.) They were in danger of experiencing the blessing while giving little heed to the Blesser. They were in danger of enjoying the meal while not paying attention to the Master. They were in danger of being caught up with the crowd while never truly knowing Christ.”
Sometimes in our successes we are in danger of losing focus. It takes times of testing and discouragement to point us to the real reason we exist as believers…to exalt Christ.
Van Meter further explains, “…the reason that he allowed us to go through times out at sea away from what were previous blessings; ministry successes, great times of learning, many prayers answered, church growth, relational harmony; etc. By doing so, we are in a position where we can learn that having Christ is enough.”
God is enough! When the storms come, when heartache ensues, when friends betray or abandon us, when circumstances pile in with voluminous speed…God is enough! We need only recognize His presence, accept His plan, and obey His Word!
Follow on Eastern Hills family! God is enough!