Gospel Of Mark Bible Study
Brother Todd  

Why did Jesus intend to pass by His disciples?

In the Bible, we see that Jesus was constantly being sought after. People rightfully wanted Jesus-He was always in demand. We see him healing the sick, casting out demons, and declaring that the Kingdom of God was here. 

People were always trying to find Him- and quite frequently, He was trying to find some rest with His father. 

 “Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida and after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.” Mark 6:45-47

Jesus was resting and withdrawing to pray. Jesus often demonstrated that you have to withdraw in order to advance.

I’m not talking about being a withdrawn person. I’m talking about getting alone with God, praying, reading scripture, enjoying time with Him, and Him enjoying time with you. We take that time to recharge our batteries. 

If you are an introvert, you probably understand what I am talking about. If you are more of an extrovert like me, you might need a little work.

But Jesus always withdrew and the Kingdom advanced. Before this, we see Jesus had fed 5000 people from 5 loaves and 2 fish. 

By this point a great crowd had been following Jesus- “As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like a sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.’” Mark 6:34-37

Jesus always seems to challenge us to believe Him for something greater. And He desires to partner with us. Here, we see Jesus challenge the disciples to give the crowd something to eat themselves. And as they begin to distribute, Jesus does a miracle. He made more.

When you take what you have and give it to God, He gives more. He makes more out of it.

We have this saying on the mission field, it goes like this: “We’ve done so much with so little, for so long, that we can now do anything with nothing.” 

The disciples experienced Jesus do this- there were twelve baskets extra. One for each of the disciples as God’s provision for them taking part. 

After this miracle, Jesus went onto the mountain to pray- He was alone. Soon after his disciples were out on the sea, making painful headway:

“When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea. He intended to pass them by.” Mark 6:48

Wait, what? He intended to pass them? 

Think about that. Here are His disciples. They are: out at sea, on a boat, while the wind and waves are howling. They are struggling.

And Jesus intends to pass by them. That kind of blows your concept of Jesus, doesn’t it? 

I’ve read this many times, but this time I couldn’t wrap my head around it. 

I had to ask the question: Why did Jesus intend to pass them by? 

Our concept of Jesus is that in that moment, he would’ve been right at their beck and call. But, He wasn’t. Jesus was a man on a mission.  

Jesus was the one who had sent the disciples to the other side- the other side was right into gentile territory. 

Part of Jesus’ mission was to be a light to the gentile. Every time you look at the gospels, you see the story of God’s Kingdom is so tied into God’s mission; His mission to get to people. 

In Luke chapter 4:43 after Jesus had healed many people, they begged Him to stay. I don’t blame them at all- he’s Jesus. But, he said to them: “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns, because that is why I was sent.”

Jesus is the same man on this urgent mission, as He was while He was walking on water. He intended to pass them by. 

I believe Jesus wanted to pass them by to get to the other side. But, He was really on a mission and He wanted the disciples to follow him. 

From the minute He saw these disciples, He said follow me. That’s what we are as disciples- called to follow Jesus called, to obey him and listen. That includes following and walking in the model He has put ahead of us. He is modeling to us how to get through a storm. He is modeling to us how to walk out the mission of God. 

“But 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.” Mark 6:49

The disciples looked at Jesus walking on the water, and thought he was a ghost. They had just seen Jesus perform a miracle, but it couldn’t possibly cross their mind that Jesus was walking on the water. 

They looked at things with their own paradigm. We would’ve done the same thing. 

The point is that they looked at this occurrence with their own worldview, not through the realm of possibility that is in God. Which is really the realm of impossibility. 

When we follow Jesus on His mission, as His faithful disciples, we see our paradigm change and we have a Kingdom perspective. We see His rule and reign in action. 

Why can Jesus walk on water? He is God, not a ghost. 

In the original language, the fear that the disciples were experiencing was a panic attack; they were losing it. 

And Jesus simply says these words, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”  Mark 6:50. Not only does He say those calming words, but He gets into the boat with them.

The winds immediately ceased. 

When I was asking these questions about this chapter, I felt the Lord graciously say that He passed by His disciples because He had sent them on a mission. They were on the boat in the first place because of a mission. They were sent to the other side to proclaim the Good News. 

Jesus knew it was vital for the mission to be accomplished. It was important for them to succeed. So, He got in the boat. 

This is a beautiful picture. Even in our own failures, our own efforts, our own perspectives, Jesus still gets in the boat. 

He gets in the boat with a purpose- sure, to calm the seas, and rid them of their terror. 

But He also gets them back on track, He points them back to the mission. He knew this mission that He was calling the disciples to; He knew very soon after that this mission would be in their hands. 

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

The disciples would need to know how to follow, how to call on the Lord, they would need to know how to go through these difficult times, they would need to know how to trust God. 

Because Jesus took this mission that He was on- to preach the Gospel to every town and village, to proclaim good news, to set the prisoners free, to heal blind eyes, to preach that the kingdom of God is here. But what did Jesus do with that mission? He gave it to the disciples. 

He takes the mission He is on and transfers it to His disciples, they are filled with the Holy Spirit, and they go on and change the world. We are here because of that, we are here because Jesus got in a boat. No matter what happens in the mission, Jesus says that He is with us always, even to the end of the age. 

There is just something about when we obey God, when we put forth that desire to walk this thing out, not to be just hearers of the word, but doers of the Word. 

“And He got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased, and they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.” Mark 6:51

That’s how the text ends. It goes back to the feeding of the five thousand. They did not understand the feeding of the five thousand. Their hearts were hardened. Their hearts hadn’t changed yet. They hadn’t fully realized that Jesus was God yet. They didn’t realize who was with them. They didn’t realize that He was the one who caused the loaves and fishes to be multiplied.

Thankfully God is gracious. 

Their hearts needed to be softened, and that’s what God does- He softs even the hardest of hearts. 

I want to encourage you today if you know that your heart is hard about something- allow the Holy Spirit to soften it. 

I’m imploring you not to have a heard heart, it’s a bad route to go.

The disciples had the heart change come eventually. later we know that Jesus said to Peter, “who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29) Peter responds, “you are the messiah.” 

After Peter denied him three times, he calls him back to him and says, “Do you love me?” Each time, Peter responds, “You know I do” and Jesus says: feed my sheep. John 21:15-17

Jesus called Peter right back to the mission- right back to the mission to reach every man, woman, and child. Feed my sheep.

The disciples just missed the point that God was with them and how adequate His provision is. 

Do you believe that He is always enough? That he gives us everything we need?

As I conclude here, if we move on to the next section it says Jesus heals the sick in Gennesaret. 

“When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds wherever they heard he was. And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.” Mark 6:53-56

Jesus is back at it. No more crossing the sea. The disciples are with him. This is a gentile region, and we know that the Great Commission is to take the gospel to every tribe, every nation, every tongue. That’s what this mission is about. And Jesus gets in the boat with us to complete this mission. 

You get to be a part of that. 

English Standard Version, 2005, Mark 5:45-56

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