Summary: This text is all about contrary winds - really opposition; those things that come into our lives and make us wonder if we will EVER get anything accomplished.
This text is all about contrary winds - really opposition; those things that come into our lives and make us wonder if we will EVER get anything accomplished.
What kinds of contrary winds did Jesus face? Mark’s gospel (v.1) tells us that Jesus had just been rejected in his home town, Nazareth. It’s rough when your kinfolk and neighbors won’t accept you.
Jesus had national problems too (6.7). King Herod had put Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist to death, and he wasn’t too happy about Jesus’ ministry. Another contrary wind was the difficulty of Jesus’ popularity (6.31). He couldn’t get a day off.
Perhaps the most contrary of the winds facing Jesus was within his own camp. His disciples had so little faith, every time Jesus wanted to demonstrate His Lordship over this world, it was his own followers that gave him the most grief. It is said that Walt Disney was such a visionary that he would only give his time and energy to a project if his ENTIRE board of directors was unanimously AGAINST the idea. He must have gotten the idea from Jesus!
Life is indeed an uphill battle! Family life, career, school, relationships, ministry - it is all a daily, living, breathing challenge to keep things under control. It is sometimes tempting to adopt the philosophy according to Murphy: WHATEVER CAN POSSIBLY GO WRONG WILL...GRIN AND BEAR IT!
If we applied that to ministry it would be really simple to focus on the fact of current contrary winds; we could focus on the obstacles to ministry -- never enough money for projects, never enough volunteers, sickness, time constraints -- the lack of interest the community seems to have towards church. Contrary winds!
On the home front the contrary winds have caused many folks to give up on marriage (it doesn’t last), fidelity (everybody else does it), loyalty (nobody’s gonna look out for #1 - I got to!), and integrity (so what if it is cheating - those big companies won’t miss my little bit).
Even when it comes to the Bible there are contrary winds of criticism and doubt. Some quite liberal commentators say Jesus really didn’t walk on the water in this account. It is proposed that He walked along the shoreline, and the boat the disciples were in had drifted close to the shore in the fog.
Some say that the water at that part of the lake was only ankle-deep, and it just looked like Jesus was walking, while He was really wading. Well, the Bible itself (not what I THINK about the Bible), says that the boat was in the "middle" of the lake. It wasn’t close to shore. And Jesus "climbed into the boat." That would’ve been difficult if He was on the shoreline, and they were in the middle of that huge lake. And if the water was only ankle deep, how in the world could a boat, large enough to hold a dozen fully-grown fishermen/disciples be tossed around in a storm with water only 3 inches deep? They must’ve been some pretty "wimpy" fishermen!
No, beloved, this was a real storm in a raging sea, and a real Christ, walking on deep, deeply troubled waters. I submit that if God MADE those waters in the first place, He could WALK on them, or UNDER them, or He could PART them and make a dry path through the water. And if He wanted to He could’ve done like He’s going to do....He’ll make the waters and all of heaven and earth flee from His very presence (Rev 20.11).
Contrary to the contrary nature of doubt, this is a miracle! Jesus walked on the water. And it tells us something about our own problems with contrary winds.
The main question is, "WHO’S IN CONTROL?"
Let’s notice four realities about the incident of the disciples’ problems with contrary winds, and how our own contrary winds have an answer... Have you got any problems?
#1. JESUS WAS THE ONE WHO COMPELLED THEM INTO THE CONTRARY WINDS Mark 6.45,46
Immediately, the question comes as to why Jesus would have sent the disciples on ahead. He most always travelled with them. Well, we know that Jesus took time to pray (and the text says this too 6.46). But it seems the likelier probability is that after the feeding of five thousand men and their family with only a few loaves and fishes, there was a move on to elevate Jesus to an earthly king. This wasn’t in Jesus’ plans, and He certainly didn’t want his fledgling protoges to get mixed-up in the commotion.
So Jesus sent (literally "FORCED") them by boat to the next stop. The NIV says, "made," while the KJV "constrained" is closer to translating a verb which can have the meaning of accomplishing something by force....but out of deeply-felt conviction. Did Jesus know something here? Was there something in this little boat ride that the disciples were going to need to face?