The sun lowered itself across the Sea of Galilee, filling the sky with ribbons of tangerine. Jesus sat on a large boulder high upon the mountain with its gentle slope ending on the water’s edge. Dust from the arid landscape kicked up from time to time and swirled at his feet.
Far below Him, the disciples rowed their boat across the sea. Their destination? Bethsaida. Jesus would join them later.
The Scripture says that “Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away.”*
I wonder if Jesus felt some frustrations with His disciples.
I wonder because it says immediately He sent them away.
And then He sent the multitude away …
And then He climbed a mountain to pray …
Even then, Jesus was the intercessor, praying for His followers — His disciples.
Jesus wanted His disciples to know and understand fully who He was — not just what He could do. Miraculously, Jesus had just fed thousands of people with five loaves of bread and two fish. I’m sure the disciples were astounded by His power.
But they missed the point.
The bread had to be broken before it could be made available to everyone and given away, just like Jesus — the Bread of Life — must be broken to give us His life.
But the disciples didn’t get it.
In fact, verse 52 of Mark 6 says, “For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.” Jesus knew this and perhaps that’s why He sent them away so He could pray.
Now consider this: as Jesus sat upon the mountaintop praying, He could see the disciples struggling against a strong headwind. They strained as they rowed, making little to no progress. It was difficult.
But Jesus didn’t go to them. Not yet. Even though the struggle was real, He waited until just before dawn to help them.
That bothered me until He showed me the bigger picture.
Jesus was near and well aware of their struggle.
Jesus had sent them forward, but a resistant wind was sending them backwards.
Jesus wanted them to gain more of an understanding of who He was, not just what He could do.
At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came to the disciples, walking on the sea. In the darkness of the hour, the men thought He was a ghost and became terrified. Rather than walking on by, as Jesus had originally intended,** He immediately talked with them offering comfort, “Take courage! It is I; do not be afraid.”
Jesus climbed into the boat and the wind died down. The significance is that Jesus climbed IN. Just His presence alone was enough to still the wind. He didn’t need to speak to it.
He just needed to be with His disciples in the struggle.
Could it be that Jesus sent them into the strong headwind so that He could reveal more of Himself to them?
Could it be that Jesus sends us into strong headwinds so He can reveal more of Himself to us?
Jesus sent the disciples forward — the wind was against them, not with them.
Often, the confirmation of God speaking to us is the resistance we encounter.
Resistance often leads to revelation.
And revelation assures us that just the mention of His Name draws His presence to us and quiets the strong headwinds.
Thank you so much for stopping by. I would love for you to share what’s on your heart in the comments below. Scroll a little farther down and you’ll see where you can leave your comments. Together, we can find the nearness of God in our darkest moments.
Sweet blessings to you,