“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…” – Mark 6:48
Everyone seems to know the account of Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee. In fact, I think we are all so familiar with the story that we may tend to overlook what I believe to be the most important aspect of the narrative.
We naturally get caught up in the exciting accounts of the disciples’ distress in battling the wind of the sea.
“And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.” – John 6:18
And the waves that were generated by those intense winds!
“But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.” – Matthew 14:24
And who could look past the miraculous fact that Jesus was actually walking on water?!?
“And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.” – Matthew 14:25
When His disciples saw Him, they were terrified:
“So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.” – John 6:19
They thought they were seeing a spirit!
“And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.” – Matthew 14:26
The comforting Words of the Creator to His disciples captivate and calm even us!
“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.” – Mark 6:50
The original Greek, translated “it is I,” is ἐγώ εἰμι “egō eimi” and is the eminent Name of God, “I AM” (אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה “‘eh-yeh” in Hebrew). Christ often used this Name of God (John 8:58) – as revealed to Moses (Exodus 3:13-15) – when referring to Himself, as He did here to comfort His disciples in their fear.
Finally, our attention is drawn to the amazing conversation between Peter and Messiah Yeshua:
“And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
“And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” – Matthew 14:28-31
Such a beautiful and well-known discourse between Peter and His Lord. From the faith of Peter, to the doubts of Peter, to the shout of Peter to the Lord for deliverance — our Lord graciously saved Peter in the midst of the storm!
Jesus went into the ship, and the storm ceased to the bewilderment of the disciples:
“And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.” – Mark 6:51
They willingly received Him and reached their destination — immediately:
“Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.” – John 6:21
An Important Observation
This was just a quick trek into this wonderful account from three different gospels, all of which should be so familiar to us. But are we missing something that the Lord would have us know – something that I intentionally omitted?
Let us look at our study verse and see if we can glean what the Lord may want us to consider this day and every day in our journey of faith.
“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.” – Mark 6:48 (emphasis mine)
Why? Why would Yeshua “have passed by them?” Why, indeed!
Context of the Event
Jesus walked on the water the night after He fed the 5,000. This should be significant to us because the disciples just witnessed an amazing miracle of creation:
“Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.” – John 6:14
But their witnessing and recognition of this miraculous event seemed to have faded quite quickly. Storms have a way of doing that.
Storms in Our Lives are Like the Storms on the Sea
The analogy of storms on the sea to the storms of trials and tribulations in people’s lives cannot be missed. We often find ourselves “troubled” by what life’s storms throw at us, and we all have the tendency to want to take those storms head-on, within our own power, forgetting – just as the disciples seemed to have done – that we have the Creator of the universe at our disposal.
What an unfortunate and common truth found at times in the lives of all believers. This is something that, if we are honest with ourselves, we all need to work on. Faith must be put into practice as it grows.
Putting our faith and trust into action, though, can often be a daunting task for the believer who is used to taking on the storms of life on their own. And this is the real issue: We are not alone!
Calling on the Name of the Lord
In our story, the disciples were toiling under their own power without calling upon the Name of the Lord. The Lord “saw them toiling in rowing, for the wind was contrary unto them,” and yet their focus was not on the One who could help them. And because they did not call upon the Lord in the midst of their storm, He “would have passed by them.”
But our loving Lord did respond to their fear without their calling out to Him for help. In their case, the sight of Him was very “troubling” to them, for He was doing something they had never seen before, and this, in turn, gave rise to the notion that He was a disembodied spirit (Matthew 14:26).
What we should appreciate here is that our Lord would have passed them by because they were insistent on fighting the storm on their own. But when it came to their fear at the sight of Him walking on water, they discovered that He was there – He is always there – to respond in their moment of dreadful anxiety, and He did just that.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Romans 10:13
The Lord will always respond to the cry of His children. In the saving of Peter as he sunk into the sea, He demonstrated this truth again.
Do Not Let the Lord Pass by You in Your Trials and Tribulations!
“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” – Psalm 34:18-19
Our Lord is always with us whether we sense Him or not. Even though He is there, He can pass us by if we are not seeking Him, and we can miss the blessings that we would have otherwise received. This is not to say that He abandons us – He will never leave or forsake us – but He is a gentleman and will leave us to our own devices if we so insist, yet He is still there waiting for us to call unto Him.
But why should we even get to that point? If He is always available to us and, even more importantly, desires to constantly be with us, then why should we ever seek to do anything in our own power apart from Him?
The Lord is Always Waiting for Us to Call Upon Him in Every Situation
“The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” – Psalm 34:17
Again, our Lord is a gentleman who will not force Himself upon anyone and will often wait for us to call upon Him in our times of need.
But if we were honest, wouldn’t we have to admit that it is most often only in those apparent dire times of need that we call upon Him at all? Shouldn’t we be calling on the Creator, Savior, and Redeemer of all in every situation, no matter how mundane the situation may seem to us to be?
We should not see our Lord as a “situational God of distress” but rather as a God that should encompass every facet of our life. That is, a God who desires to not only be there for us when we need Him but desires to be with us in constant perpetuality and continuous fellowship! How could we not yearn for the same?!?
Do Not Allow Your Lord to Pass by You in Any Situation!
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20
For Christ to live in us, we must first allow Him to be Lord of our life. And for Christ to be Lord of our life, we must allow Him access to every feature of our lives. Our Lord wants to be involved in every phase of our lives – and I mean every phase!
As fallen creatures, we have this tendency to only look for our God and Savior when we need Him after we have exhausted our own power and human resort. This is a tragic mistake that we all have made, for our Lord and Savior desires to be an integral part of our lives in every circumstance. If we do not allow Him to partake in fellowship with us in every stage of our lives – alternatively resting and depending on our own devices – just as He might have done with His disciples when He walked on water, He could very well just pass on by.
We should never let Jesus walk on by at any point of our lives. He desires to be present in every way and at every time – from the important to the mundane, in times of ease and comfort, in times of trials and tribulations, through our joys and in our griefs – He wants to be there for us, and with us, through it all.
When we ponder our God and Savior’s creation, we should stand in awe of His immense power.
Our sun and its planets comprise our solar system and are one of billions upon billions of other stars and their solar systems that inhabit our Milky Way galaxy. Moreover, there are billions upon billions of galaxies in the universe, and within each one of those billions upon billions of galaxies reside billions upon billions of solar systems. These numbers, because of the recent images of the James Webb Telescope, are appearing to reach into the trillions!
Subsequently, consider biological virology and the molecular biology of all life. Then contemplate quarks, hadrons, and atoms that are the building blocks of all matter. When it comes to the basic science of our material universe, here is what we observed in A Study of Zechariah 14:12-21:
“…the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” – 2 Peter 3:10b
Peter, in this passage, is telling us what will happen to the earth and the heavens when the Lord prepares to recreate the new heavens and the new earth. Scientifically, this appears to be the releasing of the atom.
The atom, the building block of all matter, has a proton and a neutron that should repel from each other, but they do not. When I was young, the “substance” that held the atom together was unknown, as it is today, and was referred to as “atomic glue.” Today, it is known as “strong force,” and science has no idea what this “force” is. But we do! Jesus Christ, Himself:
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” – Colossians 1:16-17 (emphasis mine).
The Greek word for “consist” is “sunistanó” with the following definitions: to place together, to set in the same place, to bring or band together; to put together (i.e., unite parts into one whole), to cohere, hold together.
Our amazing God and Savior holds everything together by His absolute power. He is the “strong force” and the “atomic glue” of His entire creation that He spoke into existence!
Is it any wonder that our Lord was always challenging His disciples – and, by extension, us – for their utter lack of faith at times? Look at what our God and Savior has done just in relation to His immense and incredibly complex creation, not to mention the incredible bodies our souls and spirits inhabit!
His omnipotence is unfathomable to His creatures, and yet He desires those who know Him to trust Him in everything, including our very lives. And this trust in Him, at times, is somehow too difficult for us? How could we not trust Him and desire His fellowship in everything?
In the end, the personal message of Mark 6:48 – Yeshua Walks on Water is this: The Lord wants all of you, beloved child of God! He holds your every heartbeat and very breath in His infinitely powerful hands. Your every thought and every action were already known to Him before He ever created you, and your very life and death were divinely harmonized by the triune Godhead in eternity past for your benefit and His glory.
Never, ever, let Yeshua – your amazingly powerful and loving God, Creator, Savior, Redeemer, Lord, and King – ever pass on by in any circumstance of your precious life.
Beloved Saint, as Jesus demonstrated upon the cross, Yeshua loves you more than you could ever know, and He would walk on water through any of life’s raging storms to rescue you. Just never allow Him to pass you by when He does.
Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!
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