Wednesday, May 10, 2023

           The gospels are full of miracles Jesus performed.  And each is astounding to consider.  Frankly, is there such a thing as a “minor” miracle?  A miracle is a miracle.  It is the inbreaking of God’s power into a situation that seems lost, hopeless, unfixable or even dead.  In Mark 6, Jesus walked on water.  Just before this astounding feat, He had been praying alone on a mountainside, having dismissed His disciples by sending them to a boat and telling them to go on ahead of Him to Bethsaida.  Mark 6:49-50 tells us that the disciples had two distinct reactions to the sight of Jesus walking on water.  First, they mistook Him for a ghost.  And second, they were terrified by the sight of what they saw.  Their reactions are understandable even today.  We are not confronted by such a sight in our day to day lives.  Walking on water seems extraordinary and unthinkable—unless of course it is Jesus doing the walking. 
            Jesus spoke to His anxious disciples and said, “Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid” (Mark 6:50b).  Jesus’ words were the first century equivalent of “Chill out.  I’m good and you are good too.” There are a few lessons that stand out in Jesus’ words to His disciples.  First, the Lord said, “It is I.”  By saying these words, Jesus invoked the divine name “I AM.”  In the Greek language, the wording is “ego eimi” or “I AM.”  Jesus used this same expression in seven bold declarations in John’s gospel.  By using this expression, Jesus signaled that the One walking on the water was the same One who spoke to Moses at the burning bush.  Jesus comforted His disciples by saying “the One you see is the great I AM and I AM is the One you see.”  Hopefully, this explanation is not confusing to you.  Just know that Jesus was saying more than “it is me.”  He is using the Holy Name of God often translated as LORD in the Old Testament.
            Second, Jesus reminded the disciples that He was with them.  Indeed, He was walking directly toward them.  He had not sent them on a fool’s errand.  He had not forgotten them.  And when Christ is with us, there is no reason to fear.  Indeed, our fears can take leave.  There is no greater comfort than knowing the Lord is with us and watching over us.  We claim this promise even in the valley of the shadow of death as Psalm 23 reminds us. 
            Third, Jesus called His disciples to look at Him and not the water or the boat.  We often lose sight of the Lord today.  We can lose sight of Him in the miseries of the moment or the challenges before us.  Except for Joshua and Caleb, the Old Testament spies that Moses sent to scout out the Promised Land saw the giant size and stature of the people they would have to fight.  They were ready to quit before the first battle.  They lost sight of God when they looked at how big their enemies were.  By contrast, David never saw Goliath’s size.  This shepherd boy with his slingshot saw the greatness and glory of the Lord.  The lesson for us is simple and even obvious. See the Lord more than you see trials and battles or even those who would threaten you.
            And fourth, Jesus “climbed into the boat with them” (Mark 6:51a).  He joined them.  He has joined us too.  Jesus is our Immanuel or “God with us.”  We are not alone and never will be.  He has come to be with us.  And He remains with us through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us.  He is our consoler, counselor, comforter and companion.  You never make a journey, reach a decision or face the dawn of a new day without the assurance that the Lord has climbed into your life with you.  He is there—as much as ever.  And He can calm the wind and the waves and set you on a course for safe harbor.  Have a great Wednesday!    

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