Dear Grace Church Family,
The miracle stories of Jesus always contain great truths about how our relationship with
Jesus really works. Like the Jesus-in-the-boat-asleep story I preached on this past
Sunday. We’ve heard most of these stories so often that we can come to think that we
have it all worked out. Nothing more to figure out. Then along comes an old story that
hits us in a new way, and we learn or relearn something that changes everything we
thought we knew. This is from a different Jesus-in-the-boat story. Yes, Jesus is in our
boat. But, how did he get there, and why?
Mark 6:47-56 News Flash: Jesus comes to us! I love this particular Jesus-on-the-water-
story; more so than some of the others; even as much or more than Sunday’s story.
Why? Because this one pictures the way things usually are when we really could use his
presence with us. That makes this one a bit different from the others. In the more
famous story from Sunday, Jesus is already in the boat, asleep, and the Disciples are
demanding that he wake up and save them. Most of us have probably recited the
Disciples’ famous question to Jesus ourselves at some point in life, “Master, don’t you
care that we are perishing?
But, in this story, Jesus is not currently in the boat, and the Disciples are not even
thinking of Jesus. They’re tough sailors; experienced seamen. They’ve handled tougher
problems; they’ll handle this one just like everything else. Never mind that they are
tired, seriously stressed, and making no progress in solving their problem; namely
beating the elements and getting to shore. They’re going to keep pounding away at this
until either they or the storm wins. But Jesus knows that they need him, and so he
comes to their aid unbidden. They have Jesus so removed from their thoughts, they are
so not looking for him, that they are shocked; so shocked that Jesus has to remind them
of who he is. He gets into their boat, and unasked takes control.
Isn’t that the picture of how it so often is for you and me? Problems arise and we go
about solving them. That’s what we do. We do it at work, at home, at church, wherever.
We’re used to it. It’s part of our identity. We solve our own problems, because that’s
what we expect of ourselves. Even when the problem is beyond our ability to solve, we
will keep on “keeping on” till something gives. But some problems can’t be solved by
just keeping at them. Some problems are beyond our control, and we need help; we
What this story is saying is that Jesus loves us so much, he will come to us even when
we don’t realize that we need him; even when we’re not thinking of him at all. Jesus
doesn’t require being summoned. He comes because he considers you and me to be his
friend, and he does what a real friend does, he is thinking of us, and watching out for us,
even when we’re not doing a good job of watching out for him or ourselves.
Jesus takes it upon himself to climb into our boat. What a shock! No matter how short
or long a time we’ve followed Jesus, that message still needs to be learned and
relearned. News Flash: Jesus comes to us! Thank God!