May 17, 2023
INVITE JESUS INTO YOUR BOAT
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, for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.
Mark 6:45-52 NLT
You might remember that a few days ago we were in Mark 4 where Jesus was asleep in the boat and the disciples woke Him to save them during a similar storm. This time Jesus sends the disciples away while He goes up on a mountain to pray. He prays past midnight. This is a good moment to pause and reflect on the timing of this mountaintop prayer meeting. John the Baptist had just been beheaded and Jesus had taken the disciples away for a retreat, but they had gotten invaded by thousands of needy people. Jesus performed one of His best-known miracles—the feeding of the 5000. Jesus chooses to follow that miracle with a time of personal prayer. Perhaps this should be our model. In the Old Testament we read about Elijah calling fire down from heaven and then going into depression (1 Kings 18). I have often called this the “Mt. Carmel meltdown.” I have noticed when we are on the mountain top t is easy to get careless and step off the cliff. Elijah went from mountain top victory to the depth of depression. Perhaps Jesus understood the struggles of our humanity and chose to spend extra time in prayer after such a great miracle. Perhaps He was also lamenting the death of His closest relative. John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin and the one who introduced Jesus as the “Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.” John knew Who Jesus really was. Now John was gone. Jesus also understood the disciples could get arrogant and prideful at having a part in the miraculous feeding. He knew they needed a new battle to grow increase their faith. The spiritual blessings God brings into our lives must be balanced with burdens and battles or we will become pampered and entitled children instead of mature sons and daughters of the King. Jesus directed the disciples into the storm. He knew what the end results would be. He knew He was going to reveal to them again His power and authority. But they were going to have another test. They didn’t see it as a test, to them it was a struggle for survival. When Jesus comes walking on the water the disciples are in great fear. The fear was because in their culture there was a belief that before you died on the sea a ghost would come to take your soul away. They thought Jesus was that ghost. But Jesus assured them with the statement, “I am here.” In the original language this is actually a statement connecting God’s title from the Old Testament —“I Am.” Jesus was letting them know God was present with them in the person of Jesus. It is interesting that Mark omits a portion of the story that is included in Matthew 14 and John 6–Peter walking on the water to Jesus. Scholars believe Mark left this portion out because most of Mark’s narrative was derived from Peter’s version of the life and ministry of Jesus. Peter would not have included that for obvious reasons. But it is part of the story. When Jesus steps into the boat with the disciples immediately the storm ceased, and they were at their destination. You will note in the story from the other gospels the disciples asked Jesus to come into their boat. They had learned that if Jesus was in the boat, they were safe. We need to be sure we are always inviting Jesus into our boat.
Prayer: Holy Spirit help me to be a person of prayer in the good and bad times. Help me to always be looking for You in every storm. Help me to invite You into every part of my life.
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