Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.Mark 6:51-52
We cannot understand this last miracle unless we see it as a kind of examination period given to these disciples after the feeding of the five thousand. Our Lord had sent them out, had given them power. They had seen their ministry confirmed and authenticated by the hand of God working through them. They had come back excited and
turned on by all they had seen and done. They had now been taught that Jesus was the one who was coming to fulfill the expectation of a Messiah to be given to Israel, promised throughout all the prophetic centuries. But somehow they seemed to miss it all.
So He gives them an examination, a test, to see how they are doing. He sends them out into a storm, but this time it is different. He is not with them in the boat. He sends them out alone, deliberately, and He goes up into the hills to pray. How many of the storms of our life are made up of these two elements--trouble that comes to us and seems to be overwhelming us, and the seeming absence of the Lord? Nevertheless, there is One up on the hillside praying for us.
After the storm has blown for several hours and the disciples are in deep distress, Jesus comes to them, walking upon the water. When they see Him they are scared out of their wits because they think He is a ghost. He has to reassure them:
It--that thing you see that scares you to death--it is I; don't be afraid. How many times does He have to say that to us? That thing that scares us, frightens us--
It is I; be not afraid. He got into the boat, and they were absolutely flabbergasted! This indicates the grade they got on this exam. It was F. It was a total failure, but it astonished them. For the second time, now, their eyes are opened to begin to question:
Who then is this? And they begin to listen. This opens the door for some of our Lord's greatest teaching to His disciples regarding why He came.
And this is our Lord's question to us:
Who is this? Who sends the storms into our lives? Who tests us? Who makes provision for our needs and then tests us on it? Who gives us a promise and then sends us out to see if we believe what we teach or what we say? It is the Lord Himself. This is what He is doing with us, as he did with His disciples. He is training us, teaching us, preparing us, building into our lives, as He built into their lives, so that we might be men and women of faith, confident and calm and able to cope with life.
Thank You, Father, for what You are doing with me. Though I live in the midst of perilous times and travel among troubled seas, I know who You are--the King of kings and Lord of lords.
When our lives are outwardly commendable but our faith and spiritual perception is weak, what things may God use to strengthen us, train us, and make us teachable?