“But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately, he spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid. Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased.” (Mark 6:49-51)
Jesus told the disciples it was time to move on. He felt like they had done enough in one area and that another town needed to hear His message. He dismissed the disciples, told them to meet Him on the other side of the sea, and then went to a mountain to pray.
The disciples began to row the boat. It’s dark. A storm came up. They’re tired. Jesus somehow saw their struggles, stopped praying, and went towards them. When they saw a figure walking on the water, they became terrified. They didn’t know it was Jesus; instead, they thought this apparition was a ghost.
This story elicits many questions. Why didn’t Jesus travel with them? Why didn’t they recognize Jesus? How could Jesus have walked on the water?
I don’t know the answers to these questions. What I do know, however, is that we all experience what the disciples were going through in that storm on that night.
Some of us might be there right now. It’s dark. The rowing is hard. Adverse winds are blowing. The waves are swirling. We’re afraid we are going down. Who hasn’t been there?
What I also know is that when we cry out to Jesus, He will come. Just as He said to those disciples, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid,” so He now says the same powerful words to us.
In whatever boat, dark night, or daunting conditions we might be facing, I encourage us to trust that Jesus can find us no matter how dark the night or how fierce the conditions are.
When Jesus got into that boat, the wind ceased. With Jesus, they traveled to a safe harbor.
With Jesus at our side, I wouldn’t say that all the winds will immediately drop, but I can say that with His hand at the tiller, we can trust He will guide us to safety and peace.
- How do you identify with the disciples who were in the boat on that dark night, with winds blowing and the sea swirling?
- During your own harrowing times, did you feel the presence of Jesus coming to you? If so, how? If not, how did you deal with His seeming absence?
- How might you right now need to hear Jesus say, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid?”