[11-5-95]

Greetings in the name of Jesus!

Last winter on several occasions I blew the dust off my ice skates and spent some time on the ice with my family. I never was any good on ice skates and it was a humbling experience to watch my daughters glide effortlessly while I jerked and slipped, trying with all my might to keep my burning ankles straight.

You might say there was a contrast between my performance and that of my daughters. Several weeks ago we saw that there was a contrast between the lives of Herod Antipas and John the Baptist. Last week we saw the disciples looking to their own resources to feed the crowd while Jesus gave thanks to the Father, another contrast.

This week we will notice a third contrast between Jesus and his disciples.

Let's pray, I'll start, you finish.

Father help us always to remember that you are God Almighty and that you know our needs and always give us just what we need ........................ Amen

Now open your Bibles to Mark 6, and read 45-52. Read it over several times until you are familiar with the story.

This story actually begins at verse 30. The Apostles had just returned from their first solo preaching tour. Jesus had given them authority over unclean spirits and had given them the gift of healing. Their tour had been very successful but Jesus perceived that they were in need of rest. He had directed them to take their boat to a deserted place along the shore of Galilee so they could relax, but soon after they landed a huge crowd assembled. Jesus taught them till the day was spent and he miraculously fed them by multiplying the bread and the fish the Apostles had brought for their own meal.

In Mark's narrative of this weeks event some details have been omitted that are supplied by the other Gospel writers. We will not consider these omissions in our devotional. I believe that God did not intend them to be included in Marks version so we could view this event from a different perspective.

Verses 45-46

Last week we saw that the Apostles needed to get away from the crowds to rest, here we see Jesus sending away the Apostles so he could be alone with God to pray. It is wonderful to know that Jesus himself experienced that need to get away, even from the ones he loved. We all know that feeling, but we often feel guilty about wanting to be alone, even if it's to be with our Father. It's hard to explain, but easy to understand.

Verses 47-50a

Jesus was aware of the Apostles struggles against the wind. Everything he did was purposeful. He walked out "to them" at about 3a.m., after they had been pulling the oars all night because the wanted them to learn a lesson - That they should turn to God before they begin the struggle not after fighting all night. He was "passing them by", to show them that the quickest way to reach their destination was by the power of God, ( He would have been waiting for them at Bethsaida when they finally arrived). Have you set Godly goals for yourself? Give them to God for he has the power to help you realize them.

They were terrified when they saw Jesus because they had their eyes on carnal things and didn't realize how near they were to God and His resources. After all they had seen Jesus do, they still didn't understand. It is easy to get bogged down in the world when we don't call to mind the mighty works of God. Get in the habit of praising God for his great power revealed in Scripture, and remember how the Holy Spirit has worked in your own life, and you will always be ready to look to God in times of need.

Verses 50b-52

The Apostles were terrified thinking Jesus was some sort of water demon, but when they heard His voice and brought Him on board their terror fled and the wind died down. Doesn't life sometimes seem out of control? At those times we need to hear the voice of Jesus and bring him "on board", remember He has overcome the world (John 16:33). There is no better way I know to hear his voice than to read the Gospels continually.

Their hearts were hardened - they didn't understand the loaves. Notice that in Mark there is no rebuke here. Jesus is so patient! All He does is for the instruction and strengthening of the Apostles. It is easy to view the troubles of this life as unwelcome hindrances, but that is a mistake. The Lord faced everything life had to dish out to help us understand how to live in fellowship with God in spite of everything. Life's troubles are opportunities for us to learn how to walk by faith in God and they allow God to work powerfully and victoriously in our lives.

Did you catch the contrast we spoke of earlier? While the Apostles were leaving, Jesus was praying. While they were struggling against the wind, Jesus was walking by the power of God. It makes sense to begin each undertaking with prayer, now until next week God Bless You.

In Christ

Greg Spencer

gspencer@execpc.com


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