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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood



Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. (Mark 6:45-48a, NIV)

Twice before in Mark’s Gospel the disciples had sailed the Lake of Galilee (4:35 and 5:21). The first ride terrified the disciples when they felt they were drowning in the storm at sea. The second trip went smoothly.

I wonder if the disciples thought there was a 50/50 chance of trouble on this third trip. We know now what happened. Did the Twelve even think, “This time He’s not in the boat with us — what if something really bad happens?”

Maybe any apprehension was assuaged by the fact that Jesus told them to go to Bethsaida. Since Peter, Andrew and Philip were from Bethsaida (John 1:44) they may have just been happy to get home — even if Jesus was not coming with them.

This is the only time Jesus is left alone with a crowd. Help from His disciples to assist Him in dealing with the crowds is evidently unnecessary. He had met the people’s needs, and when the throng saw the disciples get into the boat and depart, they knew the event was over. They too needed to go home. Night was coming.

This is the second time in Mark that Jesus seeks out a private place to pray (1:35-39). On the earlier occasion Jesus rose early in the morning while it was still dark. Here, He heads off to a solitary mountainside in the late afternoon, early evening.

What did Jesus pray for in those moments? Was it primarily fellowship with the Father? Were there things on His heart? Was He praying for His disciples? After all, He only had a year left with them, and they still failed to understand the nature of His kingdom and His role as Messiah. Was He praying down through time for us as well?

From the vantage point of the mountainside, He had a clear view of the lake. I’ve stood in that vicinity many times, and you can see all the way across the seven plus miles of the lake’s width.

Things do not go well for the disciples. The fourth watch of the night was between 3 and 6 in the morning — they had been rowing for hours and were still stuck in the middle of the lake.

What a picture! The disciples are straining, and He’s praying. They’re on the water, and He’s on the land.

Like them, we’re often in trouble while He is safe on the shore. He doesn’t come immediately to our rescue and offers no excuse for His delay. He did not let the “emergency” of the disciples interrupt His time in prayer.

But, we have a Lord who is always safe, never threatened. Just as He continued in prayer while the disciples were fighting a storm, so today from heaven’s throne He prays for us (Romans 8:34). We are safe because He is keeping watch over us just as He did for them!

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, sometimes I feel that I too am in the middle of getting nowhere and life’s winds are blowing against me. But You always see me, even when I don’t see You. I am safe in Your care.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

Previous Years

2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

Podcasts of On Your Mark are available in video and audio.
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