5TH JANUARY 2022
1 John 4: 11‐18; Psalm 72: 1‐2, 10, 12‐13; Mark 6: 45‐52)
THE DRAWING POWER OF JESUS
Have you ever noticed that grandparents love to show pictures of their grandchildren to every one they meet? It’s like they can’t help it. Pictures capture moments in time and help us remember key events.
As we dive into our Gospel passage today, we’re going to be served a seven‐course spiritual meal as we simply walk through these verses and allow God’s Word to feed us.
1. Obey even when you don’t understand. Let’s begin in Mark 6:45: “Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.” Mark loves to use the word “immediately” to help us see that Jesus moves quickly from one encounter to the next. In this case it seems rather abrupt, doesn’t it? After this amazing miracle, we read that Jesus “made his disciples get into the boat.” This is the word for “compelled” and has the idea of the disciples being pushed into the boat. In Matthew 8:18, it says that Jesus “gave orders” to them.
Too many of us want to know all the details before we decide to obey. It’s like we have to figure out the why instead of just saying, “God, whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it.” Are you struggling with obedience today? Is there anything you’re resisting simply because it doesn’t make sense to you?
2. Jesus prays for you when you can’t pray for yourself. Look at verse 46: “And after He had taken leave of them, He went up on the mountain to pray.”
Since Jesus made prayer a priority, we must do the same. When we gather in groups, let’s pray. When we meet as classes, let’s pray. When we talk on the phone, end your conversation with prayer. The problems in our country won’t be solved by politicians, or by people protesting, but only by prayer. Social transformation will only come about when the church is spiritually transformed.
3. Jesus puts you where you don’t always want to be. Look at verse 47: “And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.” It’s now getting dark and the disciples are out in the deep water. Some of you feel like you’re in deep water today. As a society we seem to be out on the sea, a long way from solid ground. But the disciples are together. This was no time for arguing or fighting. It was a time to pull together and not dwell on their differences.
4. Jesus sees you when you can’t see Him. The disciples are a long way from shore and they can’t see the Saviour. The crowds have dispersed and Jesus is by Himself praying and yet verse 48 says: “And He saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them.” Let’s ponder an obvious point. Jesus sent them into this storm on purpose. Beware of preachers and authors who tell you that it is never God’s will for the child of God to suffer or go through hard times. Take comfort that the Saviour sees you when you’re struggling. You have not been forgotten or abandoned.
5. Deliverance is often delayed until it’s the darkest. Look at the second half of verse 48: “And about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea…” There is no doubt the disciples would have wanted Jesus to bail them out
earlier but Jesus waited until His perfect time.
They can’t get to Jesus but He makes His way to them. Don’t you love that He knew exactly where they were? I’m sure that gave the disciples quite a fright to see Jesus’ walking on the water.
6. Your greatest need is to see Jesus for who He is. Go back to the end of verse 48 and let’s pick up a curious phrase: “…He meant to pass by them.” What does that mean? Was He intending to just walk on by? Jesus was not trying to hide His identity but was actually revealing His glory and goodness. Let’s look in now to the last phrase of verse 50 where we read that Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” The phrase, “take heart” means, “to be brave, get a grip.” Notice that we’re not called to draw on something within us but rather to lean on the Lord. He doesn’t say, “You are amazing and strong and incredible” but rather, “Take heart; it is I.”
Be on guard against a hard heart. Have you ever wondered how the disciples could be so dense? They’ve just witnessed the feeding of thousands but they haven’t connected the dots. We’re the same way, aren’t we? God has been faithful in the past but we forget about that in the present. Check out verses 51‐52: “And He got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loves, but their hearts were hardened.” Listen. If you don’t lock in and learn what the Lord is trying to teach you, it’s likely that you’ll get hardened. So, here’s a question. Is your heart hard or is it hungry?