Dissatisfied with full bellies, the multitude in the wilderness wanted more.
How quickly an adoring crowd can morph into a demanding mob. Still picking fish and bread from their teeth, the crowd turned selfish. They wanted Jesus, but they wanted Him for their own plans. Failing to hear His teaching about the approaching Kingdom of God, they wanted to take Him by force and make Him their King. Motives in the hearts of these people were as mixed as a roadside stew.
- Some wanted Him to overthrow the Romans.
- Others wanted Him to roust out the entrenched politicians in the priesthood.
- Many were still sick or maimed and wanted His healing touch.
- Still others were bored and wanted to see a show.
- They all wanted another meal.
Jesus wanted to meet their needs but had no interest in feeding their selfish, hasty, expectations of Him. He was still a man on a three-fold mission.
To the Top of the Mountain and Across the Sea
While they argued and divided into warring camps, Jesus simply walked away from the crowd, leaving His men to deal with them. He ascended higher up the mountain to be alone, alone with the Heavenly Father in the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
Soon the disciples also sought escape by boarding a fishing boat and striking out across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum on the other side. With a storm threatening, the crowd dispersed seeking shelter where they could find it. The day was finally over, lightning announced the storm and randomly split the night with blinding flashes of light.
A Surprise in the Storm
Remembering they had left Jesus on the other side of the Sea on the mountaintop, the Twelve realized that they needed to return to Him. The experienced fishermen in the group had no fear of storms on Galilee so the men started across the lake in the face of the storm. It seems they underestimated the strength of the tempest.
In just a few miles, the winds became unmanageable and no matter how hard they rowed, they made little progress against the storm. With waves breaking over the bow into the craft, some of the men rowed while others bailed. Even the experienced fishermen were afraid, but they tried not to show it.
The Scene from the Mountain
The approaching storm disturbed the peace of Jesus’ prayer time with the Father. Looking down the mountain, Jesus saw the panicking crowd scattering like vermin in the dying light, stabbed with lightning and rumbling with thunder as winds scattered their belongings. Jesus knew His men had taken to the boat and now were in peril on the sea. He knew exactly what to do.
As the Twelve struggled to make progress and keep the boat from sinking, the lone lookout in the bow, saw a ghostly figure approaching them. Each time the lightning flashed the figure was closer. The lookout shouted to the others and they stopped rowing and bailing to investigate the strange apparition. What? Who?
It was Jesus!
He was walking on the surface of the sea, never once sinking beneath the waves The raging water stilled itself under His every step. Over the sound of wind and waves, thunder and stressing timbers, they heard a familiar voice.
“It is I; do not be afraid.”
When they took Jesus into the boat, the storm was suddenly over and immediately they landed safe on the other side.
Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone. Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.
Lord Jesus, I will not fear the storm! Not any storm. Not storms of the atmosphere, nor storms of human conduct, nor tempests of clashing ideas, not one these storms is a match for You, Lord Jesus. You walk on them all. Your voice commands all storms and until You speak peace to the storm, I will keep rowing or bailing or looking out, whatever my job on the boat may be. When a storm is brewing or when it is raging, I will hear Your words, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Amen and Amen.
Till the Storm Passes Over
Words and Music: Mosie Lister
1. In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face
While the storm howls above me, and there’s no hiding place
‘Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry
Keep me safe till the storm passes by
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand
Keep me safe till the storm passes by
2. Many times Satan whispered, “There is no need to try
For there’s no end of sorrow, there’s no hope by and by”
But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I’ll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.