Friday, November 9, 2012

When the task should have been easy but wasn’t

45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.
 46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
 47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.
 48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
 49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
 50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
 51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.
 52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened. (Mark 6:45-52)

This block of verses describes when Jesus sent the disciples to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee while He sent the multitude away.  The disciples get caught in a headwind and Christ walks on the water to them and the wind ceased.

This incident seemed like an odd one at first glance.  It seemed like Jesus decided to walk on the water as an extra convenience or to show the apostles what He could do.  But I thought, “No, when Jesus does a miracle, He does it for a useful purpose.”  So I tried to see what purpose it could have served.

Right away I noticed that the apostles were doing what Jesus had specifically asked them to do—take a ship to the other side.  Some of them were experienced boatmen, so this should have been an easy command to obey, right?  But it so happened that circumstances were against them—there was a contrary wind and they had to struggle against that for quite a while.  I think Jesus watched their progress and their difficulty and had compassion on them and walked out there to help them out.

I think it also was meant to teach them that even if they were inadequate in certain circumstances for a task He had set them, He would be with them and help them succeed in a miraculous way.  They could have gathered his from the earlier miracle of the loaves and fishes, but they didn’t think about that.  (I wonder how many times we marvel at a miracle when we’ve had previous miracles that should have taught us the same lesson?)

After noticing this, I really love this story because I see it in my own life.  There are things I consider myself fairly expert at, yet sometimes when I’m in the middle of trying to do them, I find circumstances against me and I struggle much more than usual.  This story shows me that there is no need to think less of myself for that.  Rather, I can look to the Lord who watches all my efforts, and I can still pray and get divine help.  He will have compassion and help me without upbraiding me. 



Ramona Gordy said...

I agree Micheala
I love this record,there is so much here we can apply to our own lives. I had the impression that this "walk" was more than just Jesus walking out to those men. I am curious as to why only Peter was brave enough, and had faith enough to walk out. It seems that Peter is always remembered for looking at the waves and wind, but Peter can be likened to those Nephites who after the 3 days and nights of chaos, those fair ones who were spared, they had faith "sufficient" to qualify to meet the Savior. From where we stand in our present, we see those Nephites barely clinging to their faith to make it through the night, we judge Peter because, wasn't it obvious that all he had to do was look at the Savior and keep on walking. Even the children of Israel,most of them could not look at the serpent on Moses staff and live.
When Peter started to sink, the Savior was right there in an instant to pick him up, after all Peter could do.
Thank you for this post, it blessed my heart and I am so glad that we have a loving Savior who looks past our weakness's and helps us to keep going.