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why?

January 1, 2013

Jesus had sent His tired disciples on ahead by boat to their next stop.  In the meantime He dismissed the crowd He had just fed (5,000 men were counted, not including women and children).

“After sending them off, He climbed a mountain to pray.  Late at night, the boat was far out at sea; Jesus was still by Himself on land.  He could see His men struggling with the oars, the wind having come up against them.  At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them, walking on the sea.  He intended to go right by them.  But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and screamed, scared out of their wits.  Jesus was quick to comfort them: ‘Courage!  It’s Me.  Don’t be afraid.’  As soon as He climbed into the boat, the wind died down.”  Mark 6:46-51, The Message.

Jesus was fully God and fully man, so as He was up on the mountain, He knew the storm was coming.  He saw it build.  He watched as the waves grew higher.  “He could see His men struggling with the oars, the wind having come up against them,” (verse 48a).  Yet He stayed.  Why?

Ponder this for a moment as a possibility.  He was aware that His disciples would encounter more storms in life.  He also knew He would be returning to His Father and not be physically present with them.  They wouldn’t be able to see Him even though He would be present in the form of the Holy Spirit.  Yet they needed to see how He could intervene when they needed Him.

Note also that He is the true gentleman, and He doesn’t force Himself where He isn’t invited.  So He intended to pass by them while they were struggling in order to give them the opportunity to ask for help.  I love the next portion.

“But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and screamed, scared out of their wits.  Jesus was quick to comfort them: ‘Courage! It’s Me.  Don’t be afraid.’  As soon as He climbed into the boat, the wind died down.”  Before we go any further, notice that the Son of God was in the storm with them; He was not watching from a safe distance like most human kings would do.  Jesus was in the very heart of the raging weather right along with them.  The tender heart of Jesus was moved as He heard them scream in fear.  Just as a parent will come to the aid of their frightened child and talk to them before they are able to get to them physically, Jesus knew His voice would reach them before He could.  Then He immediately climbed into the storm-tossed boat with them.

I love this picture of the Father’s heart.  He knows a storm is headed our way.  His watchful eye is on us as the wind picks up and we begin to get tossed in every direction.  It’s up to us when or if we decide to call on Him to intervene.  When we do, He’s there.  Immediately.  The storm is made calm when our eyes are on Him because He is present.  The peace of His presence is beyond all comprehension.  Another way to say it, is when I stop looking at the circumstances, cry out to Him for help, and put my eyes on Him, the raging wind, driving rain, and unpredictable waves inside me instantly experience calm.  Then I’m not in a panic and can begin to pray effectively about the situation.  It’s not magic, however.  It’s still a constant choice to keep my focus on Him and to not at my environment.

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