Explain what has just taken place.
[Mark 6:45-46] “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. And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray.
Describe the scene on the beach.
In John’s account of this story we’re told that “Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him King.”
Why.... Jesus had just done what no government has ever been able to do!
Knowing the mood of the crowd Jesus does 3 things (2 of which are strange):
1. “Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go....”
“He made” in the Greek means to “compel by force.”
Jesus honors the free will of mankind, but He allows no man to dictate His fate.
Why force them to go? The disciples wanted Jesus to lead a revolution.
2. “He sent the multitude away....”
“He sent” - Greek word “apolyo” - “used of divorce, to dismiss from the house.”
Jesus always welcomed the multitude.... why send them away?
A) They wanted to make Him into something He wasn’t.
Jesus came to be a Savior, not a King!
B) This would convolute His purpose.
Jesus came to wear a cross, not a crown.
C) It would give His Jewish enemies a legitimate reason to arrest Him.
It would be legal under Roman law to arrest a political activist.
3. “He departed to the mountain to pray....”
Why would Jesus depart alone to the mountain to pray?
A) Past Disappointment.... grief over the death of John!
B) Future Anxiety.... Jesus knew what the future held.
The Future was Now - Jesus would return to Galilee for the last time before making His way to Jerusalem to die for the sins of the world.
Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication.... let your request be made known to God.”
C) Present Circumstance.... Jesus knew the storm facing the disciples.
Jesus had sent the disciples across the Sea knowing they’d face a storm.
From the mountain He could watch them.
Hebrews 7:25 says that Jesus “lives to make intercession” for us.
[Mark 6:47-48a] “Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night....”
This was not a “Storm of Correction,” but a “Storm of Perfection.”
All “storms” are Christ-centric.
Storms of Correction - bring us to Christ through repentance.
Storms of Perfection - make us more like Christ through refinement.
Jesus will use this storm for two reasons:
1. The storm will be used to prepare His Disciples for the future.
Storm #1: Mark 4 Jesus was in the boat (physically present).
Storm #2: Mark 6 Jesus was on the land (physically absent).
Ultimate lesson.... Jesus was with them either way!
Jesus would use this occasion to prepare the disciples for His physical departure while reassuring them of His constant presence.
In Acts 3-5 we will see another storm immediately follow incredible blessing!
2. The storm will be used to teach the disciples a lesson they’d yet to learn.
. . . . . . .
Scene of Activity
Four interesting bits of information:
1. “The boat was in the middle of the sea....”
2. They were “straining at rowing....”
3. “The wind was against them....”
4. It was “about the fourth watch of the night....”
It is approximately 3 AM when the scene shifts from the shore to the sea.
It is the darkest hour of the night and the disciples have been rowing for 9 hours.
Because of the headwind they find themselves at the point of exhaustion.
“Straining” the Greek “basanizo” means “to test the metal of, to torture.”
The disciples are at the 3 1/2 mile marker.... “the middle of the sea.”
The scene of activity is important because it tells us 3 important things:
1. The disciples are determined to obey Jesus.
The sail is down and they’re rowing against natural forces.
This means it would have be easier to go back then move forward.
2. The disciples are going to fail on their own.
9 hours of rowing against the wind had left them utterly exhausted.
If the storm continues, they won’t make it to the other side.
3. Jesus is watching the entire scene unfold.
It’s with this in mind that we’re told....
[Mark 6:48b-52] “Jesus came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost (phantom), and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled.
But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.”
Scene of Activity
1. The disciples are genuinely trying to obey Jesus’ commands, but are finding this task impossible to accomplish on their own strength.
2. Once the disciples reached the breaking point, Jesus came walking on the sea.
3. Mark tells us Jesus “would have passed them by” if they hadn’t cried out for help.
4. Jesus immediately addressed their fear commanding them to “be of good cheer” because He had arrived to help them. “It is I; do not be afraid.”
5. Jesus “went into the boat.... the wind ceased.... and they were greatly amazed.”
John’s account states that immediately they made it to the other side.
Note: Their amazement came not at the miracle of Jesus walking on water, the fact the wind ceased, or the reality they were teleported 3.5 miles to dry land.
Mark says “they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.”
This means the key to unlocking the significance of this specific story rest in our understanding of the previous miracle of Jesus feeding the 5000.
We have already discussed how the Feeding of the 5000 made such a significant impact on the disciples that other than the resurrection it is the only miracle included in all 4 gospels. But could it be that it’s included by the Holy Spirit for a far more significant reason?
Describe the Spiritual Picture of the Exodus.
- God called His people out of Egypt (picture of the world) to a land of promise where they’d live godly lives as a witness unto the world.
- As they made their journey, God would supernaturally provide the daily provisions of His people. Their clothing and shoes didn’t experience the normal wear and tear.
- Though God would care for them, the Hebrew people would encounter opposition and persecution during their journey. Initially the Egyptians, then later the Amalekites.
God would supernaturally provide daily bread (or mana) from heaven (Exodus 16).
The events of Mark 6 have an interesting correlation with the Exodus.
Vs. 1-6: After being rejected by “His own,” Jesus commissions the 12 (a new people).
Vs. 7-29: Instead of calling this new people out of the world as He had done with the Jews, Jesus sends the disciples into the world to be a witness.
Just as God provided daily provisions for the Jews, Jesus tells the disciples to take nothing for the journey and rely solely on God to supply for their needs.
With the death of John, we see that the world would reject and persecute Jesus’ disciples just as they had done with the Jews during the Exodus.
Vs. 30-44: Just as God had miraculously feed the Jews bread from heaven, Jesus supernaturally feed 5000 with 5 loaves.
The events of this chapter and their obvious similarities to Exodus - culminating with the “Feeding of the 5000” - should have communicated to the disciples 3 important lessons:
1. God was calling them out as a new people.
Even Jesus’ prayer before the meal indicated a shift from Judaism.
2. They were to rely on Jesus for daily provisions and well as works of faith.
Jesus demonstrates “works of faith” to produce “people of faith.”
3. They should have recognize “with the loaves” the divinity of Jesus.
Everyone should have seen this miracle as fulfillment of Exodus 16.
Jesus declared Himself the Bread of Life in John 6:28.
“Then they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
Then Jesus said to them, “I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
Because they didn’t learn these 3 lessons, Jesus sent these men into the storm.
1. The storm stripped them of self-confidence.
“You feed these people” had been an impossible command the disciples couldn’t accomplish on their own strength or ability.
On the other hand, as experienced fishermen the command to “row to the other side” was something they felt they could do on their own.
Big Lesson: They couldn’t do it and they cried out for help!
2. The storm developed reliance on Jesus.
Jesus had proved reliable to handle the impossible commands.
Jesus now proved reliable to handle the simple acts of obedience.
Big Lesson: No command of Jesus (whether big or small) can be obeyed apart from the involvement of Jesus!
Reliance on Jesus is simply the natural manifestation of a faith in Jesus.
2 Corinthians 3:5, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.”
3. The storm forced them to recognize Jesus as God.
Jesus said to the disciples, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
The phrase “it is I” is the Greek phrase “eimi ego.”
The only other place we see this phrase used by Jesus was in John 8:58.
"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." Then the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM."
“I AM” was a direct reference to Exodus 3 when God told Moses “I AM who I AM.”
The singular Hebrew word “hayah” is the Greek the phrase is “eimi ego.”
Mark 6:50, “Be of good cheer! I AM; do not be afraid.”
Jesus miraculously feeding the multitude should have illustrated His Divinity, but this moment on the Sea of Galilee removed any doubt.
This is why Mark says “they were greatly amazed beyond measure, and marveled."
They were “thrown out of position into wonderment.”
They were “besides themselves.” Literally, “insane.”
Here’s the question I want you to consider this morning.... If the “Feeding of the 5000” was supposed to declare Jesus’ divinity, how did the disciples tragically miss it?
“For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.”
“Hardened” - Greek medical term “pôroô” meaning “to harden by covering with a callus.”
The disciples missed one of the most radicle revelations of Jesus (Feeding of the 5000) because of the callousness of their heart.
Next Question: Why was their hearts callused?
They resisted the revelation of who Jesus was because it threatened their preconceived notions of who they wanted Him to be.
[Mark 6:53-56] “When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret and anchored there. And when they came out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him, ran through that whole surrounding region, and began to carry about on beds those who were sick to wherever they heard He was. Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.”