Into the storm



Another miracle of Jesus Christ, the son of God.  This comes at the end of a very long day for Jesus.  It was probably the longest, most stressful day He ever had (except for the night and day leading up to His crucifixion).  The day began with His disciples returning triumphant and joyous from their first mission trips.   Then comes news of the death of John the Baptist.  Trying to get away to grieve the loss of John, He can’t escape the crowds and instead feeds 5000 people with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish.  So by this time, Jesus must be exhausted, but He still has one more miracle in Him for the day.
 
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.   One of the few times in the bible where we see Jesus to go alone anywhere.  After a day like He’s just had, who can blame Him?  He sends the crowd away well fed, and He sends the disciples ahead of Him to His next destination.  He goes up on the mountain alone to pray to the Father.

When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea.   On top of all this day has brought, here comes the storm.  Notice the details here.  Jesus was alone when evening came, the storm comes in His disciples, And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea.   That’s between 3 and 6 in the morning to you and me.  So Jesus left His disciples out there in that storm for a good long time.   Mark tells us And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them….” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭6:48‬ ‭ESV‬.   They were really struggling out there!!   There is a lot of time between “when evening came” and “in the fourth watch of the night“.    Imagine how the disciples felt during this time.  Returning from their successful mission trips, healing and making disciples on their own, they feel in top of the world.  Then Jesus humbles them by feeding 5000 people they said couldn’t be fed.  Now He leaves them all alone in this storm!!  Where is Jesus?  Why would He do this?  We KNOW the kinds of questions they were asking, because we ask these questions all the time when we go through our struggles.  WHY is He letting us go through this?  WHEN will He come?  Why hasn’t He come already?  Doesn’t He know we need Him?

But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”   And, of course, that little thing about walking on the water!!   Jesus came to them in probably the last way they were expecting.  They knew He had miraculous powers.  They probably expected Him to calm the sea like they had seen before.  They were looking for the skies to stop thundering and the rain to stop falling and the waves to stop crashing.  But instead, Jesus comes to them in the middle of the storm.  He came in such a way the disciples didn’t even recognize it was Him.   “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear.   Maybe they recognized Him and thought he had died in the storm.  I think they just didn’t recognize Him because while they expected Him to help them, they were expecting Him to BE GOD.  They were expecting Him to help in some grand, majestic, awe-inspiring way.  Maybe come down from the clouds to their rescue, sweeping them instantly out of the waves.  They didn’t recognize the soft glow as Jesus.   So even when He was right there with them they cried out in fear.  
Sometimes we expect Jesus to come in some grand, obvious way in our lives.  To boldly announce “I am here!”  To give us huge answers to our prayers.  To stop the storms around us from happening.  We don’t recognize when He comes to us in our storms.  We look for the thunderclap and bright shining lights, He comes in a ghostly glow, in the middle of the storm, saying “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”



“Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:22-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/mat.14.22-27.esv
John Lewis
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