When evening came, 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. (NIV) Mark 6:47-48
Jesus has just miraculously fed a huge crowd (estimated between 15,000-25,000 people) with just 5 small loaves of bread and 2 small fish. All the people have eaten and are satisfied. As the people watch, they become convinced that this Jesus, is no ordinary man. They’re hoping that maybe He’s the One they’ve been waiting for. . .the One who will bring healing, help and hope to their nation.
The people think that their hope will be found in crowning Jesus King of Israel. There is political momentum here. If a vote had been taken, Jesus would have won the Galilean primary! But, Jesus knows that is not His mission. Jesus sends the crowds home and sends His disciples away on a 5 mile journey. Could it be that Jesus did not want His disciples get too tempted by “kingdom” talk?
But, instead of hoopla, the disciples find themselves caught in an unpredictable turn of events. The sun has set, a chilling wind sends shivers up their spines. . . it’s pitch black, no moonlight, and a storm is coming. The boat begins to rock back and forth. The men try to steady themselves. Wave after wave crashes against the boat, pouring more and more water into it. Some of the disciples most likely, frantically bail water, as others strain against the oars. They are exerting every muscle in their bodies trying to make headway against the relentless wind and waves. . . they are soaked, from the sea water and their own perspiration. . . their hands are blistered from gripping the wooden oars, which get heavier with every pull. They do not have a choice of fight or flight. They couldn’t exactly swim in or head for shore, they are 3 1/2 miles out (John 6:19b) – right in the middle of the lake (Mark 6:47).
I wonder what was going through their minds. . .”Where is Jesus when you need Him? Just like everyone else I’ve met in life, He doesn’t really care about me. You can’t count on anyone.”. . . “What will happen to my wife and kids? Who will provide for them?”. . . “I’m too young to die”. . . or were any reciting Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you?”
What are you afraid of? Not ever having enough money? or running out of money? Afraid of the violence around you? Afraid of being alone? of death? of looking back on a worthless life? Do you ever wonder if anyone really cares?