27 February 2016
Reading: Numbers 21-23; Mark 6
50 They were all terrified when they saw him. But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” 51 Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, 52 for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were hard and they did not believe. (Mark 6:50-52 NLT)
That evening, Jesus put his disciples in a boat and sent them across Lake Galilee. A storm came up and soon they were in serious trouble. Then at about 3:00 AM, Jesus walked toward them on the water. When they saw him their fear and concern over the storm turned to terror of the supernatural!
These are the same disciples who had gone on a mission to preach the Good News, heal the sick, and cast out demons (Mark 6:12-13). They had assisted Jesus in a miracle with fish and chips to feed 5,000 men and their families (Mark 6:41-44).
How is it possible that less than twelve hours later, their hearts were too hard to fully grasp the significance of what they were experiencing? What made their hearts so hard that they could not believe?
Here are some things that may have contributed to the hardness of their hearts and may contribute to the hardness of our own hearts:
• Weariness. They were physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted.
• Interpersonal Conflict. These men were prone to blaming and competition.
• Spiritual Dryness. They had been busy with ministry and people. Jesus wisely took time alone to pray and recharge spiritually.
• Fear. They were in physical danger. We can be overcome with fear of loss, lack, opinions of people, other kinds of loss and harm.
Our hearts don’t have to be hearts of stone to be too hard to believe. Let’s ask Father God to pour in the oil and the wine and heal and soften our hearts to believe! If you have internet access, listen: My Eyes Are Dry - Keith Green
Father, Please soften our hard hearts and fill us again with your Spirit so that we can believe! Amen.