Mark 6:51 & 52
“(51) And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.
(52) For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.”
Why were the disciples so taken aback by seeing Jesus walk on the water? Why did they assume they were seeing a spirit when they saw Jesus walking on the water? Why did they lack the faith to believe they would reach the other side of the voyage, when, as our Pastor has so often preached on, Jesus was the one who constrained them to get into the ship?
The answer is given in verse 52. The disciples’ hearts were hardened against Jesus and had been for the bulk of the day. But how did their hearts become hard? How did it happen? What could have happened instead if their heart was right with the Lord?
The first evidence of the disciples become hard hearted is found earlier in this chapter before the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Notice verse 52 said they considered not the miracle because their hearts were already hardened at the time that the miracle occurred.
We first see the warning signs of their hardheartedness because their time of rest was deferred. Jesus commanded them to privately depart into a desert place to rest for a time. Then as they disembark on the other side, expecting a time of relaxation, they are greeted by a multitude that had travelled around the sea faster than their boat sailed across the sea. While Jesus has compassion on them and began to teach them, the disciples had no time for them. After much of the day had passed, they finally approached Jesus insisting that he send them away so that the multitude would depart and go find food for themselves. Jesus then further revealed their hardness by commanding the disciples to give food unto the multitude so that the crowd could eat. Their answer is full of excuses and coated in disdain for the multitude. Then Jesus asks them to find out how many loaves are available and they begrudgingly seek out through the thousands of people until they know how much is available.
Thy completely missed the miracle of Jesus taking little and feeding a multitude because their eyes were blinded from the irritation in their hearts that they were the ones who had to serve the thousands. Jesus blessed the loaves and fish and then gave it unto the disciples to disperse to the people. They were bitter that instead of relaxation they now had to spend the evening working as servants for those that ruined their time of rest. Then imagine their response when Jesus sent them through the crowd again to collect the leftovers for the lad who gave his basket unto the Lord. They were so focused on the losing out on the rest that they thought the deserved that they were blind to need of the people, blind to the miracle that was happening before their eyes, and blind to their spiritual need to increase their faith by considering the impossible task that was just accomplished by their Lord.
Then, they resist the Lord’s will for them to depart by ship and Christ had to constrain them into the ship. I can just see them rowing in the boat, contrary to the wind, thinking to themselves, “First, we have to give up our rest in order to serve and now we can’t even have rest in the ship because the wind is blowing the wrong direction.” They were so focused on themselves that by the time the storm had arrived and intensified that they had altogether forgotten about the Lord. It’s not that hard to believe that Jesus could walk on water after he took practically nothing and made a feast out of it for over 5,000 people. But the thought that Jesus was walking on the sea didn’t even enter their minds because they had completely disregarded the miracle that Christ had done earlier that day. They were bewildered by Jesus’ presence and power over the wind and sea as a result of their spiritual blindness.
The storm had brought them stress and strain because they didn’t consider that God himself said they would cross over to the other side. Their fret could have been avoided if they realized the miracle and allowed it to increase their faith in Christ.
Yet how can we criticize the disciples when we often are guilty of the very same mistakes. When we are more concerned with what WE perceive we are losing out on by following after the Lord. There is no cost to a saint when they follow after Christ, there is only gain. Yet, when we disregard the hand of God and the actions He makes clear before us we are apt to completely miss the very thing that God meant for us to gain.
Anyone who begrudgingly follows God is someone who will be blind to the blessings of God and will be bewildered by the storms in their life because they didn’t take note of what God is capable of doing. Harden not your hearts as the Israelites did in the day of provocation, instead petition God to keep your hearts broken in love for Him.
Your fellowservant in Christ,
Bro. Jordan FosterReplyForward