Week beginning – 25th October
Find a good time for you and those in your house if there are others, and give the readings from Dave a go. Pray, read, ask and chat and see what you learn together as the Holy Spirit helps you.
Text: Mark 6:45-46
Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
Off, by himself, alone to pray. We saw this before (1:35-39).This is revealing to us the real humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was a person just like us. When someone prays, they honour God by depending on him to fulfil his promises and bless his people. The life Jesus lived, the things he said and did, were all the result of depending on the power and grace of his heavenly Father.
If Jesus needed such prayer, how much more do we. One of the things he is teaching his disciples and us, is that being a disciple means depending on God fully, and that starts with prayer. It is not a burdensome duty, but an urgent lifeline.
How do you think about prayer, a burdensome duty, or an urgent lifeline? What difference would it make to your prayer life if you realised everything depended on it? Seeing that, what will you do differently now?
Text: Mark 6:47-49
Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost.
Several disciples were experienced sailors, yet they struggled to control their boat in a strong wind. We have also seen this before (4:35-41).
Then, the disciples woke Jesus for help. This time he was not with them. What would they do now? Notice Jesus saw their difficulty and acted to help. As he does not change, we can be sure he will be the same for us whatever storms we face.
Strangely, he was about to pass them by. What is going on? This probably echoes Exodus 33:19 and 1 Kings 19:11 when God “passed by” to declare his glory. A sight of this glory is designed to produce humility and trust in God. It was just what they needed.
Life during this coronavirus pandemic can appear, and often is, particularly challenging. Our circumstances can feel difficult, even full of despair. If that is your situation today remind yourself that Jesus sees and acts to help. Lift your eyes above the issues you face and set them on the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). Let a sight of his glory put things in perspective, and bring you hope.
Text: Mark 6:49-51
They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down.
If you were out at night in a boat in stormy conditions, and saw a figure approaching, walking on the water, I am sure you would be terrified too! Notice what Jesus says: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Clearly the antidote to fear is to be aware that Jesus is with us. It is his presence that puts courage into our anxious hearts. Just as here, it is his presence that brings calm to whatever storms are buffeting our lives.
Whenever God’s servants are fearful his greatest assurance to them in Scripture is, “I will be with you”. He does not offer solutions but promises his presence. If he is for us, who can be against us?
Almost every challenge we face in life is made easier if we face it with a supportive friend. Do you tend to forget, when faced with any problem, that you are not alone? The Lord Jesus never leaves or forsakes his people. He is with you in it. You are not alone. Do you need to remind yourself of that today?
Text: Mark 6:51-52
They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
In Mark chapters 1-8 Jesus is revealing to his disciples who he is. Sadly, these chapters also reveal how slow the disciples were to see what he was showing them.
They had not understood about the loaves, or indeed very much else it would seem. The miraculous feeding of the 5000, which they had just experienced, was something only God could do. Who then is Jesus showing himself to be?
They missed this because their hearts were hardened. Not in the same way as those who opposed Jesus (3:5), but as the result of not joining the dots about Jesus. If they had let that truth sink in, it would have softened their hearts and opened to eyes sooner.
If you are someone who has not yet come to a living faith in Christ these verses are, in a strange way, a comfort. It took the disciples a while to grasp the truth about Jesus. It is often the same for us. Do not stop looking, or praying, that God will open your eyes to see Jesus for who he is and worship him.
Have you been a Christian for some time now? Have you kept your eyes on Jesus, joining up the dots about him in the Bible? Take time to think of what you know about him and turn it into praise.
Text: Mark 6:53-56
When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed
Very little social distancing going on here! Crowds appear whenever Jesus appears. If the sick who are brought to him touch even the edge of his cloak they are healed (as we have also seen earlier in 5:27).
The point is not that the sick will always be healed, this was not Jesus’ priority (1:38 records this was preaching the gospel). These miracles were again a demonstration of his identity as God come in human flesh. Who is capable of healing the sick of a whole region other than God?
Just as with the paralysed man of 2:1-12, their greatest need was for their sins to be forgiven. As God this is the greater work Jesus wants to do in them.
Earlier the leper had asked Jesus, “If you are willing you can make me clean” (1:40). If our bodies are healed, but our souls not cleaned from sin ours is a short term, and not a long-term, gain. Have you understood your greatest need is to have you sins forgiven? Only Jesus has the power to do it. Ask him. If you have already done so, thank him.