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October 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land.”—Mark 6:45-47 (NKJV)
Mark’s Gospel has been rightly called “The Gospel on the Go” because it’s so action oriented. One incredible event leads to another, and we see that happening here on the heels of the miraculous feeding of the multitude as Jesus “immediately” sends His disciples across the sea. Now notice that Jesus deliberately sends them across on their own. He wants them to make the dangerous journey without Him. There’s a special purpose He has in doing this, as we’ll see.
Things don’t go smoothly for the disciples. As darkness descends and the winds pick up, they find themselves in a massive struggle. It should be noted that traveling at night is always more dangerous than in broad daylight, especially on the water. Compound that with the fact they were in the center of the sea, with no land in sight, they were in a very dangerous position. It took everything for them to not get caught up by the wind and swamped by the waves.
But Jesus is watching them the entire time. Being God, He knew this was going to happen. He sent them straight into the storm because He wanted them to hit a wall where they struggled to the point of being fully exhausted of their own strength and resources. And that’s when the Lord intervened: “He came to them, walking on the sea . . . And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled” (Mark 6:48-51 NKJV).
There’s a lot going on here! But the main takeaway is that Jesus came to His disciples at the perfect time for them to “marvel” at Him. Had the crossing been smooth and uneventful, they would not have seen Him for all His worth. But it was the storm He sent them into that set the stage for them to see Jesus in a whole new, marvelous way.
He works much the same in our lives. There are times when we feel like the Lord has sent us straight into a storm, and that it’s all we can do to hold our position. We sense our strength dwindling and our weakness overtaking us. Our sense of independence gives way to the realization that we are nothing in and of ourselves. And it’s just then that the Lord shows up and delivers us as only He can. The tempest teaches us to marvel, to worship, and to magnify Him in an altogether new way!
Pause: Why did Jesus send His disciples into the storm?
Practice: Consider today how this can serve to “anchor” you in life’s storms.
Pray: Lord, anchor me in Your love and good purpose for my life as I endure the storms of this life.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.