This time the disciples are utterly amazed when Jesus steps into the boat they are in 2 miles out from shore in the middle of a storm and the night!
The narrative is in Mark 6:45-52.The disciples have just witnessed the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus has been teaching a large and hungry crowd. Unable to think they could do a multiplication miracle, Jesus blesses fives loaves and two fish which multiply as the disciples pass them out. Each disciple fills a basket with the leftovers.
Jesus then sends them on ahead by boat while he goes to pray up the mountainside. Night falls and the wind rises, so the disciples are struggling, “making headway painfully.” The text says that this is the fourth watch of the night – each watch is 3 hours and they start at 6pm – so it’ now between 3 and 6am and they have been rowing nine hours in the middle of a lake 4 miles wide. They are in big trouble.
You are never out of God’s sight
They are right bang in God’s will – Jesus had commanded them to go in the boat (v45). And following Jesus command they are in a tight spot! Following Jesus doesn’t keep us out of trouble. We face trials (James 1:2) – in this trial there is certainly going to be a purpose.Jesus went up a mountainside to pray. Looking down on the disciples he can see their predicament. This is actually the first miracle in the passage. It’s pitch black, there is a gale blowing up the waves and Jesus is over 2 miles away. On a clear day you could probably make out a boat, but I doubt you could see the occupants or identify it easily. Definitely not in the pitch darkness of a stormy night. Jesus could see. You never out of God’s sight. You might feel like you are all alone, out of God’s sight, but you aren’t. He can see it all, He knows what you are going through and he cares.
You are never out of God’s reach either!
In v48, Jesus he came to them walking on the sea. This is the big miracle! Jesus walking on water, calming the waves as he walks. He has power of nature and storms – he is the God who created and sustained the world. Job 9:8 speaks of God – “He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.” So Jesus is showing who he is. Verse 48 continues, telling us that “he meant to pass by them” That is how God revealed himself to Moses in Ex 34:6 and to Elijah in 1 Kings 19.They were panic stricken, thinking it was a ghost. They obviously didn’t realise it was the Lord! how often do we not recognise the Lord reaching out to us? The reality is that He is always nearWhere can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:7-10Jesus tells them “Take Courage, It is I, don’t be afraid!” The phrase “It is I”, is the Greek form of “I am” – Jesus passing by like God in the Old Testament is Yahweh, I am who I am. He is God. So…
You are never out of God’s care
We are never out of sight, out of mind. We are never too far from His loving reach. Or his care. When it is tough, or frightening, God has not left us, forsaken us or abandoned us. In this fourth watch of the night – some 9 hours into rowing and getting nowhere except blown into the middle, Jesus comes.Jesus gets into the boat and the storm immediately calms. They are amazed! The Greek word here literally means to be removed from a standing position – In the UK we’d say they were bowled over!I’d be amazed at the walking on the water, but they are amazed because they do not understand about the loaves. Each one of them had handed out fish & bread and watched it multiply. Then they had collected a basketful of leftovers each. God provides and provides more than enough. The idea was they have seen God work in the past and thus he will in the now too.
If life is tough, you are facing trials – know this you are never out of God’s sight, reach or care. Trust Him to meet you in the storm and be amazed!