Game Changer Week 3: Devotional Day 4
DAY 4 – Thursday
Dig Deeper: Mark 6:45-52, 2 Tim. 1:17, Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 19:9
- When have you struggled with something you were always confident at before? How was this an opportunity for Christ to reveal his presence, his comfort, his assurance?
- Where in your life are you making headway painfully?
- What headwind is against you at the moment?
- Is this headwind causing fear and causing fear to take a foothold in your life?
Making headway painfully! The nearest I have been to the disciples experience is canoeing with my husband Craig, on Park Lake and Soap Lake, part of the Sun Lakes, just north of Ephrata, Washington. An afternoon wind comes up on those lakes almost every afternoon in the summer and paddling back to shore takes real effort. It is scary; as my mom would tell Craig, “Now you two be careful, Anita is not a very strong swimmer”! We had a couple of hard paddlings to get back to shore!
What a description of the reality of the disciple’s predicament. The Sea of Galilee could normally be crossed in Biblical times, in six-to-eight hours. But in the evening, there is a wind that can arise that is known in Arabic as “Sharkia”, or shark. It caused fear and distress among Galilean fishermen. These men spent hours on the water; they knew how to maneuver and deal with boating emergencies. The sea was their work place. Fear didn’t grip them easily. But this verse says “they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them.” They were straining at the oars! The Greek word for “straining” is basanizein. It means “to torment”. Going out on the Sea in the evening, knowing that this wind could come up and “torment” them must have been frightening. They wouldn’t have gone out on the water, except that Jesus made them get into the boat, and go before him to the other side!
Maybe you are a fisherman in Gig Harbor and you know exactly what these verses are talking about. The rest of us make headway painfully in the ordinary places of life. Jobs, school, raising children, volunteering, bad habits, medical problems, relationships—these are our places of torment. It seems like there is a headwind against us and we are fearful.
It has been debated whether Jesus really walked on the water. The preposition “on” means “on”, “upon” or “on top of”. It means what it means. Jesus was walking on the water! He went to the disciples and he goes to me in my distress. His compassion was toward his disciples and his compassion is toward me where I am “making headway painfully”. Jesus was trying to give an “in-your-face” visual reminder of what God did for his children in the Old Testament. The disciples knew these Torah stories and scriptures. He was attempting to get the disciples to recognize who he was. The “I AM” of the Old Testament who has compassion for each of us. Only God can walk on water. (Job 9:8, 38:16, Ps 77:19, and Isa 43:16) Jesus was identifying unmistakably with God. He was trying to communicate that he was walking where only God can walk, that he is in charge over nature, that He was walking in God’s stead and was taking God’s name, the great “I AM”!
Fighting fear means recognizing Jesus for who he is. The Great I AM who has compassion towards me. And comes to me walking on the water.