My Dear Parishioners,
In Mark 6:35-52, Jesus not only stilled a storm but He also was able to walk on the water. The event first recorded in these verses is a beautiful emblem of the position of all believers, between the first and the second advent of Christ. Like the disciples, we are now tossed to and fro by storms, and do not always enjoy the visible presence of our Lord. Like the disciples, we shall see Jesus face to face again, though it may be a time of great extremity when He returns. Like the disciples, we shall see all things changed for the better, when our Master comes to us. We shall no longer be buffeted by storms. There will be a great calm. There is nothing fanciful in such an application of the passage. We need not doubt that there is a deep meaning in every step of His life, who was "God manifest in the flesh." For the present, however, let us confine ourselves to the plain, practical lessons which these verses contain.
Let us notice, in the first place, how our Lord sees the troubles of His believing people, and in due time will help them. We read that when "the boat was out on the sea, and Jesus was alone on the land, He saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, He came towards them walking on the sea, and spoke to them saying, "Take heart it is I; do not be afraid" - and changed the storm into a calm. There are comforting words here for all believers. Wherever they may be, or whatever their circumstances, the Lord Jesus sees them. Alone, or in company, in sickness or in health, by sea or by land, in perils in the city or in the wilderness, the same eye which saw the disciples tossed on the lake, is ever looking at us. We are never beyond the reach of His care. Our way is never hidden from Him. He knows the path that we take, and is still able to help. He may not come to our aid at the time we like best, but He will never allow us to utterly fall. He that walked upon the water never changes. He will always come at the right time to rescue and uphold His people. Though He may delay, let us wait patiently. Jesus sees us, and will not forsake us. As the saying goes, "He may not always show up when we want Him to, but He is always on time."
Let us notice in the second place, the fears of the disciples when they first saw our Lord walking on the sea. We are told "when they saw Him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified." What a true and faithful picture we have here of human nature! How many of us today, if we had seen what the disciples saw, would have behaved in the same manner! Few, if any, who if they were on board a ship in a storm at night, and suddenly saw someone walking on the water coming towards the ship, would still maintain their composure, and be altogether free from fear. We should not laugh at or ridicule the superstitious fears of the poor disciples. In spite of the increased intellect and the spread of knowledge in these modern times, there are few who, placed in the same position as the apostles, would have shown more courage than they.
The boldest skeptics have sometimes proved the greatest cowards, when appearances have been seen at night, which they could not explain. The truth is, there is an instinctive feeling in all human beings which makes us shrink from anything that seems to belong to another world. Notwithstanding the fact that the common stories about ghosts are undoubtedly foolish and superstitious, they are almost always traceable to the fears and imaginations of weak-minded people.
The plain duty of every true Christian is, to live provided with an antidote against all fears of the great unseen world. That antidote is faith in an unseen Saviour, and constant communion with Him. Armed with this antidote, and seeing Him who is invisible, nothing need to make us afraid. We travel on towards a world of spirits. We are surrounded even now by many dangers. But with Jesus as our Shepherd, we have no cause for alarm. With Him for a shield, we are safe.
With all good wishes and prayers Fr. Chris Archibald