After the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread, Jesus commands his disciples to get up and go. They do not hang around and talk, there is more work to be done, so they get in a boat and head to Bethsaida. He dismisses the crowd and then goes to pray. He knew there was more work for them to do, for him to do in their lives, and even after seeing the miracle of him feeding 5000 people they would still need him to calm their fears less than 12 hours later. Mark 6 explains it this way:
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(46-52).
He saw them struggling that night, he continued to pray. He waited, he didn’t rush out to help, He prayed, and then just before dawn he went out to them by walking on the lake. He waited prayerfully. He was about to pass them, to go ahead of them…but he stopped because he saw they were afraid…not of the winds, but of him, he was going out ahead of them, but because of their fear he stopped. He did not rebuke them, he did not say ye of little faith, he did not walk past…He lovingly said “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” He spoke… He didn’t stop there, He then climbed into the boat with them alleviating their fears, but he didn’t stop there…He then stopped the wind that was making it hard to row. The wind had not caused a storm, it was just making it hard to get to the next place where they would do more ministry to bring Gods’ Kingdom to earth. There response was Amazement! Why were they amazed and not expectant? After all they had just seen a huge move of God, a miracle…The text says “their hearts were hardened”. This story speaks to me in so many ways. I am victim to seeing miracle after miracle in my life, and I still worry (which equals fear).
HE SAW THEM STRUGGLE
HE STOPPED GOING AHEAD OF THEM, BECAUSE THEY WERE AFRAID OF HIM…
How often would God achieve his plan a more rapid pace if we were not so fearful? This fear wasn’t even because of the wind and exhaustion…it was of Jesus, they didn’t recognize him showing up because of their own fear…Even though they had been with him within the last 12 hours and seen him preform a miracle…Even though He sent them in the boat…Even though he had never let them down before, they still feared. They, like you and I are living with Jesus everyday. We know that when we trusted Jesus the Christ we gained an advocate, the Spirit of the Living God inside us:
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
We see his faithfulness recorded, experience his faithfulness, hear him call us and tell us to go, and we are still afraid when he calls us to move. But like the loving father he is, he does not walk on by, he sees his children and with compassion speaks to our fear with words that he has spoken in the past:
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes.”
Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.
You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.”
1 Samuel 12:16
“Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes!
2 Chronicles 20:15
He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.
2 Chronicles 32:7-8
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. Lord, give victory to the king! Answer us when we call!
He will be a spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate
The Lord will march out like a champion, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
2 Corinthians 1:20-22
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
1 John 3:19-24
This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
He doesn’t stop at just speaking, no he gets in our boat. He says I love you, you are mine, my child, I will not walk by, even though you forget I know the end from the beginning, you are the apple of my eye, I am faithful even when you are faithless child, I have plans to prosper you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Take my hand child and go finish the works I have prepared for you in advance. Life is like this, at least mine is, keep a record of the ways he works in your life, write it down, record it, erect your own standing stones whatever it takes, don’t forget how He Has Moved.
So today Lord, I step forward in faith, I remember your mighty hand, your refuge-strength-protection, I praise you that you move, you speak to me, help me be obedient to go, help me to have faith and not to fear, even when the rowing gets tough and I face opposition, You are my strength when I am weak, I will not fear… because I know before I call – You answer, before I speak you are in my boat, helping me face the wind. You quiet me, gently lead me across the water to my next mission, and lead me forward the next good work you have prepared in advance for me to complete. Thank you Lord, for allowing me to work for you, thank you for calling me, thank you for speaking, crawling into my little boat, thank you for setting me free, and setting me free to sail. Lord, and next time, help me to have faith, and not fear so together we can work to accomplish more, not according to my will, but yours. Amen
Other Scrioture Used:
When You’re Between a Rock and a Hard Place
But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.
“So don’t be afraid: I’m with you.
I’ll round up all your scattered children, pull them in from east and west.
“You are my witnesses, ” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.
I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.
I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—
I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses, ” declares the Lord, “that I am God.
Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”
Witnesses: Joshua 24:22
Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.” “Yes, we are witnesses, ” they replied. “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”
Chosen: psalm 119:30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.
173: May your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present.
I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out!
Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’ —the coyotes and the buzzards— Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth, Drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.
“But I, yes I, am the one who takes care of your sins—that’s what I do.
I don’t keep a list of your sins. “So, make your case against me. Let’s have this out. Make your arguments. Prove you’re in the right.