Jump Start # 2187
Mark 6:45 “And immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the multitude away.”
Our passage today begins an interesting story that leads to Peter being allowed to walk on water with the Lord. The Lord sent the disciples on ahead of Him. The winds were against them, or contrary, as some accounts state it. They were straining at the oars. Things weren’t going well. It was dark. And, Jesus appears, walking on the water. That sight frightened the disciples. When Jesus got into the boat, the wind immediately stopped. Multiple miracles are all tied into this one story.
It all began when the Lord commanded the disciples to go to the other side. Obeying Jesus put them into a storm. That very thought is opposite to how we think. We come to Jesus when we are in a storm and hope that he will calm things in our lives. We come when our marriages are falling apart. We come when our lives are messy. We hope and want Jesus to make things better. We don’t expect things to become stormy because we are following Jesus, but they can, and often they do.
Here is how this happens:
Obeying Jesus can create storms at work when unethical and dishonest businessmen want to fudge the numbers in the books and cut corners that are not lawful, right or good for the consumer. The bottom line is dollars and for them the more they can produce, the higher they’ll climb in their careers. They’ll sacrifice safety, walk on other people, take the credit that is no theirs, and blame others for their mistakes. The environment can be toxic, hostile and mean. And, for a Christian, it can be a storm. Doing what is right, when all around you is wrong, puts you in a corner and it can be costly to your career.
Obeying Jesus can create storms in the family. You are a Christian and others, particularly your parents and siblings are not. They don’t understand your commitment, the need to attend so often and why you cannot participate in some family activities and outings. You’ve tried to explain, but not only do they not want to hear you, they say things here and there that shows their dislike of your faith. They tease you. They misquote you. They point out failures of others that they know. In some families, this scene turns ugly. You are not welcome any more. In some settings, the parents remove the Christian from the will. And, what have you done? Nothing. You are kind, generous, helpful, but it’s the fact that you are different than they are, is seen as a strike against the family. Obeying Jesus put you in a storm.
Obeying Jesus can put you in a storm with your friends. No longer are they comfortable around you. You won’t talk about others as they do. You won’t drink as they like to do. You won’t stay out very late on Saturday nights as they do. You don’t like their choices of movies. You don’t like the music that they listen to. They declare that you have really changed, and you have. However, obeying Jesus, has put a distance between you and these friends. There isn’t much in common anymore. In some occasions, they may force your hand and make you make a decision, them or Jesus. Of course, you choose Jesus. They don’t get it.
Obeying Jesus can put you into contrary winds. It can cause you to strain at the oars for a while. Things may get harder rather than easier. Challenges, difficulties, and resistance from others can lead to you wondering if you have done the right thing. It’s enough for those who are not strong in the Lord to quit. The pressure from work, family and friends can be so intense and so strong that they will side with them over the Lord. They miss family and friends. They want to be with family and friends more than worshipping the Lord. And, that’s all it takes and some are back to where they started.
When the winds are contrary it can make a person question whether he is doing the right thing. He can believe that the winds ought to be at our back and it ought to be smooth sailing through life. Have I made a mistake? Did I do something wrong? Am I being punished for something? Is God upset with me? Common thoughts for contrary winds.
But as this story in the Gospels, ends, Jesus came, got into the boat and the winds died down. The contrary became favorable. Jesus helps. He always does. Now, does that mean those blood thirsty, money hungry bosses will change? Probably not. But Jesus will see you through it. Does that mean my family will accept me and my faith? Often, that does happen. Often the hostilities slow way down, as they see your goodness, helpfulness and kindness. Does that mean the friends will take me back? That may not happen, especially if it means embracing all the stuff that they are doing. What Jesus may do is find you a new set of friends that are moral, spiritual and will open your eyes to a wonderful world of love and friendship.
Jesus came. He didn’t leave the disciples out there straining. He didn’t leave them on their own. And, neither will Jesus leave you. Keep going the right direction. It may be hard. The winds can be strong. But hang in there.
While the disciples were in the boat, Jesus was up on the mountain praying. I expect He could look down and see them. He may well have been praying for them. I like to think that. I like to think that Jesus prays for you and I, especially when He sees us trying to obey Him and the winds are contrary to us.
Keep obeying…keep rowing…don’t let the winds get the best of you. Obeying Jesus can put you in a storm.