Summary: Jesus knows where you are. The best place to be is in the storm where He wants you. How do you respond?
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. 45-46
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 He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. 47-48
And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, 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.” 49-50
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. 51-52
Introduction – Facts and Excuses
Walt was in a hot air balloon and realized he was lost. So, he reduced altitude and spotted Michael below. He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me sir, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am." Michael replied, "You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude." "You must be an engineer," said Walt. "I am," replied Michael, "How did you know?" "Well," answered Walt, "everything you told me is, technically correct, but I’ve no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all. If anything, you’ve delayed my trip." Michael responded, "Well, you must be in Management." "I am," replied Walt, "but how did you know?" "Well," said Michael, "you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault."
(The above was personalized for two friends in church who demonstrate these type of personalities)
There are all types of storms. There are those which hit quickly, violently and dissipate rapidly. There are storms which intensify slowly and build to a huge crescendo. There are storms of disagreements and controversy. And then there are always the relational storms. You know the type. Those are the ones we find ourselves in because of someone else’s directions or comments.
Let’s watch and see how the disciples handle the newest storms when Jesus does not appear to be there. Isn’t that how we imagine it when we go through the difficult storms of life or ministry?
Jesus watched the disciples do amazing work in proclaiming the gospel. They have also completed feeding over 5000 people (8000 estimated with women and children) with food left over. The disciples were being forced to leave by Jesus for them to travel to Bethsaida-Galilee.
Jesus has just completed the feeding of the 5000+ on the northeastern side of Galilee in Bethsaida-Julius. Daylight was rapidly dwindling and the people were talking about the need to make Jesus their King. Knowing that He came for a higher mission to the Father, He rejected their desires.
Notice that Jesus makes the…
Divine Decisions 45-46
The multitudes are clamoring for Jesus to become the promised Messiah and take Jerusalem by force. He was the Bread of Life. He fed the multitude. But Jesus had the Father’s plan in mind. It was higher than their plans.
First, He Dispatched the disciples to Bethsaida near Capernaum. Being on the Northeast side of the Sea of Galilee, He instructed and then had to compel His disciples move on. The word for “made” is compel or force them out of necessity. They would agree with the masses and encourage Jesus to take the mantle given Him by the people. But it was not God’s plan.
Then, He Declined the kingship. It was the wrong time, wrong place and wrong circumstances. Jesus knew what the Father’s timetable was. Several times he said it “was not yet time.”
Third, He Dispersed the crowd. They needed to leave for he had other pressing needs.
Finally, He Departed to pray. It was Jesus’ custom to pray in solitude. After His greatest works, He often departed to spend time with the Father. Oh, that we would pray after great victories instead of waiting until defeats. We may not know what He prayed but we can be sure He prayed for His disciples!