Bible Reading: John 6:15-21; Mark 6:45-52
It is helpful to read this story together with Mark’s account, because Mark makes it clear that Jesus told the disciples to cross the sea, whilst He went to the mountain to pray. The Sea of Galilee was well known for its sudden and fierce storms. The disciples had rowed three or four miles, and were halfway across the sea when the storm blew up. Mark clearly states that Jesus was alone on dry land, and yet at a distance of three to four miles, He clearly saw the disciples straining at rowing against the wind. Jesus knew exactly what was going on, and decided to come to them. It seems that Jesus coming to them walking on the sea ignited an even greater fear than the storm itself, because they cried out thinking that it was a ghost!
Jesus said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid’ [v.20]. The New Living Translation correctly translates from the Greek, “Don’t be afraid. I am here.” It is literally, “The I AM is here” and refers back to Exodus 3:14 where God says that His Name is “I AM.” Jesus is saying to His disciples in the storm, “Don’t be afraid. God, that is who I am, is with you.” Whatever the storm that you are going through right now Jesus knows about and is with you! Notice that the disciples willingly received Him into the boat and were immediately safe. It is one thing to know that Jesus is with you but even more a blessing that we can invite Him to bring us safely through the storm, and in the process learn from Him.
No one is free from the storms of life, and we actually tend to learn more in those times than in the easy times. When I was going through cancer I knew that God was not the source of the cancer, but He did so much in my life at that time. God uses problems to DIRECT us. Sometimes it is hard for Him to get our attention, but in the problem we tend to cry out to Him. God uses problems to INSPECT us. People are somewhat like tea bags! If you want to know what is inside of them just drop them in hot water! It is trials that test our faith, and teach us patience [James 1:2-3]. God uses problems to CORRECT us. Some lessons are only learned through pain and failure, and sometimes we only learn the value of something, health, money, a relationship, by losing it. God uses problems to PROTECT us. A friend of mine refused to do what his boss told him to do because he knew it was wrong. He complained to me of the hurt of losing his job and his salary, but today God has blessed him, and his former boss will serve ten years in prison for fraud. It was a trial but God was protecting him. God uses problems to PERFECT us. Problems are character builders. As we experience trials we learn patience, faithfulness, develop strength of character, and learn that as we trust Him, God’s grace is sufficient [see Romans 5:3-4].
If you are in a tough place right now, rejoice, because Jesus knows what you are experiencing, He is with you, and He will not let you be tempted above that which you are able to bear. In the storm invite Him into your boat.
In a few words what does this word today mean to you personally? What do you think are the lessons that the disciples learned in the storm?