Scripture: Mark 6:45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea. He intended to pass them by. 49 But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” 51 Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
Observation: I was particularly drawn to v.52 this morning and the phrase “their hearts were hardened”. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed this phrase before, though I’ve read this passage many times. This is the same phrase used to describe Pharaoh in the book of Exodus and later to describe enemies of Jesus. Here it is used to describe Jesus’ own disciples, who had not yet discerned his true identity. If they had, they wouldn’t have been surprised at his command of the seas. By comparison, there were throngs of desperate people who DID comprehend who he was, hence their hot pursuit of Jesus. It would seem the ones supposedly “in the know” were often blind to the truth.
Application: I’m a pastor, so I spend more time than most people investing in my knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith, as well as its practice. That said, there are many things I don’t understand – which surprises some people. It shouldn’t. Our story for today reveals a group of disciples who were with Jesus day in and day out, but were pretty clueless much of the time. God the Father worked through them anyway, changing the course of history via these 12 very flawed people. There is hope for you and me, sisters and brothers.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, there is so much we don’t understand about you and about the Christian faith. Yet, the bible tells us that your grace abounds anyway. Let your grace soften our hearts toward you, dear Lord, that we might serve you well. Amen.