With Us

As soon as the meal was finished, Jesus insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead across to Bethsaida while he dismissed the congregation. 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. They were stunned, shaking their heads, wondering what was going on. They didn’t understand what he had done at the supper. None of this had yet penetrated their hearts.

They beached the boat at Gennesaret and tied up at the landing. As soon as they got out of the boat, word got around fast. People ran this way and that, bringing their sick on stretchers to where they heard he was. Wherever he went, village or town or country crossroads, they brought their sick to the marketplace and begged him to let them touch the edge of his coat—that’s all. And whoever touched him became well. (Mark 6:45–56)

Jesus doesn’t want us to be afraid. When the disciples were rowing against the wind, while they were stuck trying to cross the lake that Jesus had told them to cross, they got scared by the unexpected appearance of Jesus. Rather than assuming that Jesus would be with them in their hard struggle, they were more willing to believe in ghosts. Mark commented that the implications of the feeding of the five thousand hadn’t yet penetrated the disciples’ hearts. What was the implication of those miraculous loaves and fishes? Just as God had fed the Israelites in the wilderness with bread from heaven, so had Jesus fed the multitude in Galilee. That meant that Jesus was God come down to Earth in human form.

Therefore his disciples should have understood that Jesus would that they were always safe and that without question they would arrive on the other side of the lake since they were going there because he told them to. But like the disciples, too often we find it easier to trust our circumstances—that is, to believe what are eyes show us—than to trust the one who is Lord over our circumstances. Jesus told his disciples not to fear, because he was with them. Likewise, Jesus is always with us.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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