The Gospel of Mark has become one of my absolute favorite reads of all-time! I have spent the better part of 18 months digging into this gospel during my personal study time. The themes of urgency, intentionality, and perseverance are so practical and applicable to our lives.
Recently, I was teaching the high school students at our church on a Wednesday night. We are exploring Mark’s Gospel together over the next few weeks. It’s been a joy to share with them the things that God has revealed to me in His Word. As I was teaching, I pointed out that people tended to have an “immediate” response to Jesus. Additionally, Jesus responded with immediacy when it came to ministering and caring for others.
As we were surveying the first few chapters, we discovered the ways in which Jesus served. He performed healings, teachings, exorcisms, and miracles. In the sixth chapter of Mark’s Gospel we discover that Jesus sends out His disciples, two by two, to do ministry. After some time had passed, they returned to Jesus to share all that they had done and taught.
There is this sense of excitement and fatigue at the same time! So what happens next? A crowd makes their way to Jesus and the next thing we know He is feeding thousands of people with only 5 loaves of bread and two fish!
Imagine the exhaustion of Jesus and the disciples. The disciples had been on the road for some time – serving and teaching – only to return to another incredible ministry opportunity that seemed to blow right over their heads.
Mark tells us that following the feeding of 5,000, Jesus sent the disciples on a boat toward another town. He then dismisses the crowd and Jesus goes up to the mountain to pray. As Jesus is looking over the water He notices that the disciples were having a hard time making their way across the sea. The winds were strong and the waters would have been choppy to say the least.
Jesus makes His way down the mountain, casually walks across the water, and intends on passing by the disciples who were struggling in the boat. The disciples see Jesus from a distance and confuse Him for a ghost. Jesus speaks words of peace and makes His way towards the men. The disciples were terrified as Jesus got into the boat and the waters stopped.
Some amazing things just transpired! However, the disciples were so busy trying to be obedient – teaching, serving, and healing – that they missed the miracles happening all around them. They missed Jesus create baskets of leftover food when it seemed there wasn’t even enough food for a small group. They missed Jesus walking on the water. They missed Him controlling the raging seas. In fact, they were so caught up on trying to figure out how Jesus fed all those people that they missed the peace that Jesus brought when He was in their presence.
How well can we relate to the disciples? Think about it for a moment. Reflect on your own life. I know I’ve been reflecting on mine.
Do you find yourself working so hard to make Jesus happy that you forget to take a moment and rest with Him? Are you serving your church, community, and family to the point of exhaustion – but lack joy? Has life been so all-consuming that you find yourself asking Jesus where He is?
Well, I’ve been there too. I want to encourage you in this today: Jesus has not left you. He is working all around you and sometimes even through you. Take notice of Mark’s observations and guard your hearts from spiritual busyness. Find rest, joy, and peace in the presence of Christ.