Lesson 186-May 26, 2019
Lesson- “It Must be a Ghost!” Part I
Scripture: Mark 6:47-50a
Lesson Goal: To better understand Jesus’ love and care for His followers.
Introduction: The feeding of the great multitude based upon the Jewish cultural clock had taken place ap- proximately over a three hour period beginning around three o’clock. Today’s Scripture opens with a refer- ence to the “evening” time (v47). Again in accordance to the time reference “at this season” of the year would be about six pm. The entire feeding of the multitude lasted about three hours.
During our conferences here at Mars Hill we have been amazed and thankful how quickly we are able to feed 500-700 people. Usually within the time frame of forty-five minutes to an hour everyone is served and fed. Out church family does a tremendous job in organizing and serving the meal. It is indeed quite a feat to feed so many in such a time frame. With that in mind can you imagine the organization and cooperation it took to feed the multitude that day (20,000) in a three hour time frame?
Jesus has sent the disciples by boat to the other side while He sent the multitude away (v45). After He sent them away, He sought solitude with the Father so He departed to the mountain to pray (v46).
(v47) Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. Darkness now covered the land and the sea. By this time the disciples were well out on the water. We must remember that many of the disciples were fisherman who often fished during the night, so being on the water during times of darkness was not unusual for these guys. As Jesus prays the disciples under His direction and com- mand find themselves on the sea in the darkness. “Their sailing was not merely under His sanction, but by His express command. They were in the right place and yet they met with a terrible storm.” (Charles H. Spurgeon) John tells us that the sea became rough as a result of a strong wind (6:18). Matthew adds that the wind and storm was intense for the waves were battering the boat (14:24). The disciples were battling the wind and the sea as the winds took them farther and farther off course.
As the disciples fight against the sea and raging winds Jesus prays. Mark records three times Jesus prays: “1) At the beginning of the Gospel when His ministry is being defined (1:35); 2) here, in the middle of the Gospel after He feeds the five thousand (6:46); 3) near the end of His ministry in Gethsemane, just before He goes to the cross (14:32-42).” (Daniel Akin) We can learn that Jesus prayed especially as He faced those critical mo- ments in life. Often He would seek the peace of solitude as He prayed. “In each instance overtones of spiritu- al conflict and warfare were in the air. Prayer for Jesus was intense. It was war. John Piper well says ‘Until you believe that life is war, you can not know what prayer is for’ Jesus knew this better than any of us. He sought His Father in the heat of the battle raging about Him.” (Akin)
(v48) Then He saw them straining at rowing for the wind was against them. Even though they were separated by 3-4 miles, Jesus saw them. He saw them battling the wind and waves. Being trained fisherman who were accustomed to night fishing they realized battling against such a wind meant the sails should be let down and they each began rowing. They tried to maintain control by strenuous and strong rowing.
Remember that Jesus and the disciples because of their weariness had try to slip away for a time of rest and relaxation. They were quickly followed by the crowds which meant no rest! The disciples under Jesus’ au- thority and command take part in serving and administering the food to the hungry crowd. No rest! As soon as the feeding has taken place, Jesus realizing the intent of the crowd to make Him a King (Political/Military) straightway (immediately) Jesus send the disciples away. No rest! The disciples began the short trip across to the other side when suddenly the wind becomes treacherous.
I literally pause from my writing to receive a call from a brother and dear friend who was scheduled for a PET scan today but because of malfunctions of machinery has been forced to reschedule for a latter day. This brother is in the midst of the storm. I call out to the Lord to help him. I call out to warriors of prayer to pray urgently, earnestly, and unceasingly on his behalf.
I am reminded how real the storms are! I am reminded of words written while ink still dries, “Prayer for Jesus was intense. It was WAR. Until you believe that life is a war, you can not know what prayer is for.” (Piper Akins)
As I sit here praying and thinking, battling in my own selfish way, I realize that this lesson will be taught dur- ing my own visits to Vanderbilt, May 16 and Columbia, May 28. The devil wants us to struggle with fear but I praise God for His victory. “I will not fear my help is on the way.” God help us all!
(v48) Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the water. The night was divided into four segments of time called “watches”- the fourth watch was the time period between 3 am and 6 am.
As we look at the time frames the disciples have been fighting the winds for at least six hours, probably more like eight or nine.
“Walking on the water” Only God. No wind, No darkness, No time, No distance, No disturbances, No storms, No waves, No Nothing! No Nothing can keep Jesus away. Jesus always make His way to those He loves and cares for.
It may not be our timing but it is His timing! It may be during the last (fourth) watch of the night. It may be after two days and he has (Lazarus) has already been in the grave four days. It may be truly God territory time but He always shows up on time.
(v48) And would have passed them by– This phrase has troubled many and been debated by countless num- bers.
Only God can walk on water! Jesus is showing them who He is but they initially miss it. (v49) And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost and cried out;
They conclude that this appearance must be an evil spirit. They scream in terror! Be very careful how you judge this reaction!
IT MUST BE A GHOST!
Looking forward to next week and the conclusion of this great and wonderful lesson in the Life of Jesus and His disciples.