30th December 2022
Read - Mark 6:47-52
Message - Alan Burke
“First Posted Year 2 Day 296 - 12th Jan”
If you have ever taken the ferry across to the mainland, you may have been caught in the midst of a storm that causes the ferry to rise and fall with the swells of the sea. If you have you can testify that it is not the most enjoyable experience. Now imagine being on a boat about 27ft/8m long, 8ft/2.4m wide, powered by a sail, the wind battering against you so that the sail was down and you were struggling to go anywhere for hours and hours on end. Doesn’t sound like fun! With Jesus praying on the mountain side this is what the disciples were experiencing.
There while they are struggling, Jesus goes out to them, they are tired, no they are exhausted, likely soaked to the skin, straining with all that is with in them, all that’s left to get where they want to go. And Jesus goes out to them out walking in the water, this shouldn’t surprise us, after all he had calmed the storm (Mk 4) he had healed many, raised the little girl from death to life (Mk 5:21-43), fed the five thousand (Mk 6:30-44), he had shown his power over creation, his power over sickness and death itself, he had shown his creative power to his disciples and now reveals his absolute power over all of creation doing what no man can do by walking on the water.
We’re told how Jesus was about to pass the disciples by and when they saw him walking on the lake it was too much for them, they thought he was a ghost. This was like nothing they had ever witnessed before, they were terrified, but then He spoke and told them to take courage it is I don’t be afraid, climbing into the boat with him (49-52). Here in these verses we have so much going. Firstly maybe you thought with the comment at the end of v48, he was about to pass them by as something almost horrific, uncaring, showing no compassion. After all these disciples of Jesus were in the boat, snuggling for hours to try and get to the place that he was sending them.
Why would Jesus do that!? Why did Jesus mean to pass them by!? Well here Jesus was teaching them through what was happening, something that they would understand later, only after Jesus had died and rose again, and for those who read this gospel who knew their scriptures of the Old Testament would have seen and understood. What Jesus said to them when he told them to take courage makes that clear, although we loose it in translation, the Jesus said literally, “take courage “I AM” do not fear.” (V51).
Jesus' actions and words reveal that he is the incarnate Creator, that he is the saviour. In their fear he does not rebuke them, instead assures them, climbs into the boat with them, the wind died down and look at what we are told, they were completely amazed. The word here means to be amazed beyond comprehension, amazed is that of aww and fear! Now with Jesus on the boat, they began to learn more of who he was and is, the terror had changed awe and fear.
Their problem was their hearts were hardened, think of it, they had seen much, they had seen many signs and wonders, they had done much themselves, but they had failed to understand the identity of the one that they were with, how they were in the presence of the living God. Not because they couldn’t see or hear, not because they weren’t intelligent, it is because their hearts were hard.
The only hope for any of us is that the Lord God himself works. God had promised to his people… I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Eze 36:26). The only hope for sinners is that God works within. When we think of those around us it is dependant on the work of God from beginning to end, it is God who must work salvation in them, let us pray that God would give them what they need, hearts not that are hardened, hearts not of stone but of flesh that hear and respond to the gospel.
Q37 What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, (Heb. 12:23) and do immediately pass into glory; (2 Cor. 5:1,6,8, Phil. 1:23, Luke 23:43) and their bodies, being still united to Christ, (1 Thess. 4:14) do rest in their graves, (Isa. 57:2) till the resurrection. (Job 19:26–27)