Late in the afternoon, having fed 5,000 people, Jesus withdrew to the top of a mountain to pray. From His perch on the mountainside, Jesus saw His disciples straining at the oars of their boat. He could have spoken a word and all their problems would have been resolved, but sometimes Jesus chooses to let us strain at the oars.

Often in our struggles we discover great truths about Him. In this Bible story, we see Jesus as He goes to them. He seems to pass them by at first. The text doesn’t tell us why, but my hunch is that Jesus will only get in your boat when you ask Him to.

Immediately He spoke to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be troubled (afraid) [stop being afraid].” Instantly, the wind died down, and they were completely amazed. The word means stunned, shocked to speechlessness. The text says they were stunned because their hearts were hard. They had evidently lost their focus, namely, on Jesus.

When Jesus fed the multitudes, there was great enthusiasm. They got caught up in what had happened, not in the One who made it happen. In good times when life is easy, it’s easy to focus on the blessing, not the Blesser, on the good life not on the One that provided it, on the gift not Giver. Similarly, in the worst of times, their focus was the storm and on the fear of drowning. They were consumed with the reality of their present circumstances and had lost their focus on Jesus.

The main point of this text is Jesus. In good times and bad times, there is Jesus; in hunger and in storms, there is Jesus. On the mountain of ecstasy or the valley of despair, Jesus is there.

1.  When we cannot see Jesus, Jesus sees us. He is atop of the mountain praying, watching, concerned. When you can’t see Jesus through the darkness, through the trials, through the burdens and struggles of life be assured He’s got his eye on you. That is why we can sing, “no never alone, no never alone; He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.”

2.  When you cannot get to Jesus, Jesus  gets to you. He leaves the mountain, walks down to the lake, steps onto the waves, and walks on the water to get to us. Now, today,  He is always present with us..

Rom 8:35-39

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

37 In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,

39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

3.  When I don’t know what to say to Jesus, He speaks to me. “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Sometimes we don’t even know what to pray, but Jesus says, “Take heart.... Have courage.... Be brave.”

Hebrews 13 says: “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’

 So we may boldly say, “The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear.”

Jesus comes to us in our difficulties, cares about our calamities, and speaks to us in our storms.

 

When the storms of life are raging,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When the storms of life are raging,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When the world is tossing me
Like a ship upon the sea
Thou Who rulest wind and water,
Stand by me (stand by me).

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