As we begin to break this passage down, it’s important to start at the top. No, not at the top of the passage, but the top of the hill! Jesus just got done Feeding the 5,000 (v.30-44) and saying goodbye to all the people who were there. After sending the disciples out to cross over to the other side, Jesus does what Jesus does, he goes off alone to pray.
If you go back further than this story, you’ll see that Jesus desired to be alone with his disciples sooner, but was interrupted by the crowds of people. He was also hadn’t had the opportunity to truly mourn the loss of his cousin John the Baptist (v.27-29).
We can learn from Jesus that even in the midst of the business of life, it’s important to be intentional about prayer.
He Saw Them
I’m sure the disciples were asking themselves, “How are you going to get across the lake, Jesus?” I’m sure their next thought was, “Why does he keep asking us to cross the lake AT NIGHT!” Just like before, a storm pops up on the lake and yet again the disciples find themselves fighting against the wind and the waves.
What’s interesting in this account is the acknowledgment that Jesus “saw that they were in serious trouble (v. 48).” The parallel passage in John 6 indicates that the disciples had rowed 3-4 miles out into the lake. That’s a pretty good distance from the shore if you think about it. None the less, Jesus saw them in their struggle! The good news for us is that Jesus sees us in our struggle as well, but he has an interesting way of making himself known.
He Intended to Go Past
It’s wonderful to know that Jesus sees the disciples in their struggle, but it’s a little concerning that he was just going to stroll right on past them. The scripture indicates, “He intended to go past them” (v.48). This isn’t the only place in scripture that we find Jesus intending to keep walking. Just look at the story of the two men on the road to Emmaus. Luke 24:28 (NLT) says, “28 …Jesus acted as if he were going on.” The ultimate question we have to ask ourselves is, why? Why did Jesus walk towards them, just to walk by?
The reality for us today is this: Jesus will never go where he’s not invited.
In both situations Jesus came near, Jesus pursued, Jesus showed up in the midst of the storm, but in both situations Jesus wasn’t going to force his will over the will of the disciples. They needed to acknowledge the presence of Jesus and realize he’s the only one that can help them.
Don’t think this is only in reference to the disciples. Truth is, we need to recognize that even during the storms of our life, Jesus draws near, Jesus pursues, Jesus shows up; but we need to choose to acknowledge his presence!
Don’t be Afraid, I Am Here!
The greatest words that we can hear in the midst of the storm is, “Don’t be Afraid, I am here! (v. 50)” Jesus even throws in a “Take courage (v. 50)!” I know it’s difficult for us, but we need to trust in the promise throughout scripture that says, “Do not fear, for I am with you.” One of the things I tend to think is, easy for you to say… Although it’s easy for Jesus to say, it doesn’t take away the power of the promise.
In my mind what Jesus does next is incredibly significant…
Then He Climbed Into the Boat
“Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped!” Allow that thought to wash over you a second. Jesus climbed into the boat! But it’s important to remember that Jesus wouldn’t have climbed into the boat; and Jesus won’t enter your situation unless you acknowledge your need for him today. Trust Jesus in the midst of your storm today.
No matter the storms that come my way
No matter the trials I may face
You promised that you would see me through
So I will trust in you
– Michael D. Popham, “I Will Sing Praise”