Summary: As Jesus came into the area of Gennesaret, word quickly spread that He had arrived. The entire region sought Him, bringing the sick unto Him by faith. We need to spread the word about Jesus, and point others to Him.
Blessings in Bethsaida
Mark 6: 53-56
Our text today immediately follows the miraculous, and yet frightening night the disciples had spent upon the sea. While we too would likely have responded much the same or worse, we cannot overlook their lack of faith. Jesus had commanded them to get into the boat and go to the other side, but the storm caused an attitude of fear and doubt.
I was also reminded of the events surrounding Jesus’ visit to Gadara. The maniac among the tombs was glad Jesus had come and wanted to depart with Him, but the people of Gadara desired Jesus to leave them. He was not wanted or welcomed among them. As we will discover, the people of Gennesaret, and Bethsaida in particular, possessed great faith and welcomed Jesus. They reacted to the presence of Jesus much differently than the disciples or the people of Gadara had. We need the faith and desire of those within Bethsaida.
As we continue in Mark’s gospel, I want to examine the certainties within the text as we consider: Blessings in Bethsaida.
I. The Arrival of Jesus (53) – And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore. The people of Gennesaret were unaware of the harrowing night the disciples had spent upon the sea. However, Jesus’ arrival with the disciples would have been long remembered by the disciples, and surely served to increase their faith. Regarding Jesus’ arrival, we discover:
A. It was Intentional – Our text reveals that they passed over, coming into the land of Gennesaret, and landing upon the shore. The disciples had wondered if they would survive the night, and maybe had given up hope of reaching the shore. Jesus knew He would make it to Bethsaida; that was His intention from the beginning. Mark 6:45 – And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. While the storm had the potential to alter their course, Jesus arrived exactly where He had planned. The storm did not hinder or alter His plan.
This is often difficult for us to remember as we journey the sea of life and face the storms that come our way. It is easy for us to get distracted and even off course. We need the faith to rest in the power and provision of our Lord. He has a sovereign plan for each of our lives that will be carried out according to His divine will. Jesus is not surprised at where you are in the journey. As long as we are walking in fellowship with Him, we can rest knowing that He is guiding our path.
B. It was Influential (53) – And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore. The text doesn’t record the response or emotion of the disciples as they made it to shore, but there can be no doubt that it impacted their lives. They had stood in awe and wonder of Jesus as He walked on the water and calmed the raging sea. I am sure they never forgot this difficult night and the provision they received in Christ.
We talk of this principle often, and yet it reveals a profound truth. Our lives are shaped and our faith is increased as we endure the trials of life. If we never had to depend on the Lord, our faith in Him would be weak. We often forget about the easy seasons in life, but we will always remember those times when the Lord brought victory and deliverance!
C. It was Immediate (John 6:21) – Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went. John revealed an interesting aspect of this same account. As Jesus entered the boat that night, they immediately came to shore. His power brought deliverance and an immediate end to the trial they faced.
I want to speak clearly here and avoid any confusion. I am in no way insinuating that the Lord will always bring an immediate end to our trials. Some are accused of a lack of faith because their trial continues for an extended period. Our Lord doesn’t always bring an immediate end to our difficulties, but we can always rest in His grace. Like the disciples, those who are in Christ will make it safely to the other side. As long as Jesus is in the boat with us, what does it matter if the storm continues to rage? I know that is easy to say while I’m enjoying the sunshine, but we can always trust the Lord to guide our lives according to His sovereign will.