For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. ~Mark 6:50
I am very good at recognizing people I know when we are both in a familiar setting and location. However, take me out of that setting, and there are times that I will see someone I know but will vaguely recognize them. We will look at each other, and many times, the other person will be surprised by my non-recognition of their appearance and say to me, “It’s me: don’t you recognize me?” I will be embarrassed that I did not! Can you imagine the embarrassment and shock of the disciples seeing Jesus walk on the Sea of Galilee toward them at 3:00am while they were rowing and desperately trying to get to shore? Jesus said to them, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” He was saying, “It’s really Me!”
We see the manifold skepticism.
In Mark 6, the key themes that run through this chapter are faith and the mighty works of the Lord. There was the skepticism of the citizens of Nazareth towards Jesus' mighty works. The people saw His mighty works but questioned His authenticity and authority. They asked, “Is not this the carpenter’s son?” Jesus marveled that He could do no mighty work in His own home town. Later on, we see the disciples whom He had commissioned to carry on His work having a similar doubtfulness as to His ability to feed a large multitude of people. We must be careful of doubt, distrust, and disagreement clouding our judgment and not acknowledging the power of the Lord for our lives.
We see the multiple struggles.
The disciples had many struggles leading up to seeing Jesus walking to them on the Sea of Galilee. One struggle was that they allowed the skepticism of the people of Nazareth to affect their judgment of Jesus. Another struggle was that they took for granted the empowerment that Jesus gave them to replicate His works when they ministered throughout Galilee. We must be careful not to take for granted the works of God. Another struggle was being weary after a very full day of ministering to a large crowd and then becoming annoyed when Jesus said that He wanted to feed them. Then, there was the struggle of indifference to the miraculous feeding of the multitude with five barley loaves and two little fishes. Finally, there was the struggle of toiling all night rowing on the Sea of Galilee and not making much progress. This was the struggle of much effort but very little to show for it. All of these things contributed to a doubtful recognition of Jesus doing the incredible.
We see the miraculous signs.
In Mark 6, we see a great number of miracles performed by the Lord. There were people being healed at different locations, there was the miraculous feeding of the multitude, and there was Jesus walking on the waters of Galilee and causing the strong gale winds to stop. These were not everyday occurrences: these were divine miracles that Jesus performed before the very eyes of these men. However, in every situation, the men failed to recognize Jesus in His power, in His presence, and in His Person.
We see the merciful sympathy.
When Jesus came to the disciples, they were afraid and thought that they saw a ghost or spirit. He lovingly said to them, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” You see, there is constancy when Jesus is with us. By this, I mean that He is always by our side. There is comfort when Jesus is with us. He did not verbally chasten them but, rather, gave them assurance. There is conviction when Jesus is with us. “It is I.” He was saying, “It’s Me! You know My voice. You know My appearance. You know My power: it’s Me!” There is closeness when Jesus is with us. He entered the ship and the wind ceased. The Lord made Himself so real and so reassuring in spite of the indifference and unbelief of His disciples.
The lesson for us this morning is to be careful of not recognizing the Lord in His presence and Person. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. Don’t become cynical, careless, or consumed with self-effort. Know His Person, presence, and power in your life. Listen when Jesus says, “It’s Me.”
Have a Christ-fulfilling God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Numbers 3-4