Walking an Uncharted Path

Mark 6:45-56

45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 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, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

53 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

When I read this story what jumps out at me is not the miracle, but the statement about the Apostles! Verse 52: They had not understood about the loaves and their hearts were hardened! Whatever the issue that they were to understand, the impact of their lack of understanding is their current terror at Jesus walking to them on the water.

What does Jesus expect for the Disciples to understand from the feeding of the 5,000 that applies to this incident? What is the issue that they don’t understand? In what way is their heart hardened? Does something similar happen to us when we don’t understand what God is doing in our lives? And how can we learn from them? Let’s begin by looking at the miracle itself. Today I will call it the…

 

  1. The Miracle Stroll

        They just fed the 5,000. They sent the crowd away so they can    recover. And so Jesus is in need of recover, so He sends the     Apostles away. This is not meant to be a long separation.

  1. The Apostles sent away

This is not unique. Jesus has sent them away another time just    recently. Jesus is not always with them physically.

 

  1. Jesus stays to pray

Other gospels indicate that Jesus gets away and prays all night, or at least until he is aware that the Apostles are in trouble. This is just after the death of John the Baptist. And it seems reasonable that Jesus is processing His grief. John was His cousin. John was a partner in ministry. John is the first to die. Jesus is also going to die, it is a reminder. And Jesus is utterly alone in this. No one else can say to Him, “I understand.”

As such, I believe that this pursuit of God in prayer is instructive for us. When you feel most isolated and alone, draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

 

  1. Not protected from stormy circumstances

Everyone is where they are supposed to be. And the Apostles lives are in jeopardy from the weather and the water. And Jesus has a problem to solve that isn’t His fault. If these kinds of things will happen to them, to what degree should we expect to be protected from tornados, floods, disease and accidents?

Again, thinking back to Matthew 7: Who ever hears my words and puts them into practice is the one who is prepared for the storms of life. There is no question that storms of life are coming.

 

 

  1. The Apostles Rebuked

48 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, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

 

  1. The Apostles are terrified

        They see Jesus walking on the water. He is going to pass them by! How strange. Or is it strange? Is it any stranger for Jesus to be able to walk on water than it is for Jesus to cause bread and fish to come into existence from nothing? Who can cause bread and fish to come into being from nothing. They have twelve baskets full LEFT OVER! There is a lot more left over than what they started with.

 

  1. The Apostles do not understand

They need to understand what?

  1. Who Jesus is: God. God creates fish and bread. God walks on water.
  2. Who they are to Jesus. Jesus has ministry for them to share. They have a purpose. Might that include suffering? Yes. In fact, in the future it does for sure!!
  3. That God is in control of their lives. This includes the weather. “You give them something to eat.”

“You do not be afraid of this circumstantial difficulty.”

Jesus sent them out here.

They are where they are meant to be. Where else should they be?

At the end of the passage, they are back to “normal.”

People are bringing others to Jesus and there are miracles left and right!

  1. The Apostle’s hearts are hardened

What causes a heart to be hardened? When we go through experiences in life and don’t see what God is teaching us, we don’t learn from the experience and we can even believe something false. (Jesus is a ghost!?) When our understanding of life is challenged by the way that God is working, then we are meant to incorporate faith in God into every circumstance.

The faith in Who Jesus is that should be manifested in them in the feeding of the multitude is applicable to the stormy weather and to Jesus walking on the water. If God is involved, in our lives then expectations need to be expanded.

 

III. I am with You Always

How can we walk in this truth?

  1. We need to have our thinking renewed

What is my life about? Is it about my pleasure and comfort? Is it about God’s kingdom and purposes?

Process as well as results. We are called to the correct sacrifices!

       

  1. Jesus is our daily bread

        I am the bread that has come down from heaven and gives life to the world. This means today! Jesus has life for us today.

Galatians 2:20 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 

  1. Involve God in everything

Your money

Every bit of the money that you spend belongs to God. What does He want you to do with it? There will always be something else to spend your money on. Will you make your money count for God?

Greed amounts to idolatry: Submit your desire to aquire to God. Stop looking around at what other people have and instead ask God if what you are about to spend is what He wants you to spend.

Bills before pleasure.

Plan for the future.

No one owes you anything!

Be ready to use what God has given you for His glory. He is a giver, be a giver. I have tithed my entire life. I don’t regret it. Because of my giving I have been able to invest in things much greater than me. I give above my tithe. But to even say that I give is a misnomer. What I have is not mine.

II Corinthians 9: 6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:

“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

 

        Your Pleasure:

Every bit of what you do with your body: Glorify God with your body!

I Corinthians 6: You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

This is a curative for sexual immorality. But there is more immorality than that which is done in the body.

Be careful to invest in things that make you joyful. Be grateful!

Your Pride:

Fight you pride by serving and celebrating others. I don’t expect that I will not be critical or judgmental of others. This comes with my personal weaknesses. I will have to work on this my entire life. I have to view others negatively at first because I view myself that way. It’s not a strength. But what is the solution? It is to celebrate God in other people. It is to serve others because of love for God. God deserves this and this makes my life better. It makes life a lot better than the temporary acclaim that we may receive from other people.