Read Mark 6:45-56
It’s been a big day. Desperate for some time of rest, Jesus and the disciples had travelled to an area of supposed solitude, only to be greeted by a crowd so desperate for guidance that Jesus could not help but teach. Then rather than send the crowds away hungry, Jesus had fed this whole crowd made up of at least five thousand men as well as countless women and children with the only food they could find, a couple of fish and five small loaves of bread.
That was a couple of hours ago now, and since then Jesus had sent the disciples by themselves back in the boat promising to catch up with them later. And so the disciples went. Imagine the conversation that took place in the boat, “Where did all that food come from?” “Did anyone see someone bring more food?” “How did that happen?” I wonder how long it took them to go from excitement to confusion as they tried to make sense of what they had just seen. But suddenly, the disciples have something more pressing to attend to. The wind has turned against them.
Here are the disciples rowing together against the wind, the wind and the sea spray are hitting them in the face and as they look up, they see a strange sight. Movement where there shouldn’t be movement. Something is moving towards them on top of the water. It’s too big to be a fish skimming the water, it’s the wrong shape to be a boat, and its moving purposely, humanly, not just being blown about like some piece of rubbish, but as if it has a mind of its own. It looks very much like a person is walking towards them on the water.
After the day the disciples have had, this is too much for them. They freak out and cry “ghost”! What other explanation could there be. But amidst their terror they hear a familiar voice calling out, “Do not be afraid, it is I.” And with great wonder and astonishment they realise that rather than a ghost, this strange figure walking on water is none other than Jesus. As Jesus climbs into the boat with them he encourages them to calm down as they stare at him with absolute astonishment.
Jesus is gradually revealing to the disciples exactly who he is, and he does not simply teach as one with authority, he also displays his authority in amazing ways. Through the healing of the sick, the calming of the storm, feeding a multitude with a measly amount of food, and now walking on water, Jesus has completely proven that he has authority over nature.
To follow Jesus then, is to follow the one who has absolute authority. In the dark times when the world appears too much, when the barriers appears too great, it is encouraging to remember the same words that Jesus spoke to the disciples on that fateful night, “Take courage, it is I, don’t be afraid.” Take courage and hope in the knowledge that in whatever situation you are facing, Christ is there with you.
- What stood out for you in today’s story? Do you have any questions?
- What are your fears? Take some time to share with whoever you are reading this with those things that you are afraid of. They could be big things or little things.
- What does it mean to know that Jesus is King over nature as you think about your fears?
- How have you stopped this week to recover physically, emotionally and spiritually?
- Take some time to pray for one another that in amongst everything that is going on. Pray that you would know the peace of God that surpasses understanding