God’s Word to You in the Storm - Radical

God’s Word to You in the Storm

Life is full of storms, and despite how we feel, being in the midst of a storm doesn’t mean we’re outside of God’s will or that life is spinning out of control. Sometimes Jesus calls us into the storm, but the good news is that he doesn’t leave us there alone. In this message from Mark 6:45–56, David Platt reminds us that Christ is with us in every situation we face. We need to fix our eyes on the One who is Lord over the storm.

If you have a Bible—and I hope you or somebody around you does that you can look on with—let me invite you to open with me to Mark 6. As you’re turning, I want to welcome those of you. It is always good to be together around God’s Word.

I want to tell you from the start about one of the most overwhelming emotions I experience every single Sunday. I look out across this room full of people and at other locations, and I think about different people online, then I even think about people who will listen to what I’m saying right now maybe later this week, later this month, a year or two or even farther into the future than that. I think about all the different things each person who’s listening right now is walking through in your life—specific needs you have,, specific challenges you’re walking through in your family, in your relationships, in your work. Some of you right now really need strength. You feel really tired, like you’re at the end of yourself, maybe at the end of your rope.

Others of you need peace. You’re surrounded by what seems like constant wrestling with this or that and you just want rest. Some of you need wisdom in decisions you’re facing. Others of you need comfort amidst pain. Some of you need healing physically or amidst other hurts. Some of you need joy. For some of you right now, every day seems like a fight for joy. Some of you feel like you haven’t had joy for a while. Others of you need love. Some of you, even in a crowd of people, feel alone, like nobody else really understands. Some of you, if you’re honest, feel like, “Yeah, all of the above combined is what I need.” Then even if you’re not walking through specific challenges in your life right now, even if things actually are going great, the reality is none of us knows what needs or challenges might arise this next week.

So whenever I think about this, it’s overwhelming. Here’s where it genuinely drives me:

  • First, it drives me to pray for you, for members, for people who are attending this church, every day, throughout the day, and particularly as I’m preparing to stand in front of you, to intercede on your behalf, asking for God’s help in your lives.
  • Second, it drives me to love this Word. Because with all these needs in your lives and all that you’re going through, the last thing I think is, “Well, I know just what to say to help every single person in all that you’re walking through.” Like, “In and of myself, I’ve got the answers for you today. I’m glad you came.” I definitely don’t think that.

Instead, I come to this Word from the God Who knows every need represented in our lives, better than we even know our needs. He’s the God Who knows everything that’s coming in our lives this week and He is with us right now. He is about to speak to us in the next few moments through a Word that I know has the power to speak personally to every single one of us in every single need we have. What an awesome reality!

I would even take that a step further and say, “This Word has the power to speak to needs you don’t even realize you have.” So before I read this Word, I just want to pray for all of us—and I mean us, because I’ve got needs and challenges too. So we’re all in the same boat, which leads right into this story we’re about to look at—a story that may be familiar to you—of Jesus’ disciples in a boat. And no, we’re not going to sing that. Before we read it, I just want to pause and ask God to speak to the deepest needs in our lives by His Spirit through His Word in each of our lives. So can we just pray?

God, we want to hear from You; we need to hear from You. We have so many different things going on in our lives and we don’t know what’s coming later today or later this week or this month, but You do. You know all these things and we trust that You love us and have brought us to this moment to hear from You. So move me out of the way, I pray. Speak by Your Spirit through Your Word in the next few moments. Take Your Word and apply it to each and every person is listening right now. We pray this in Jesus’ name and all God’s people said, “Amen.”

So let’s hear the Word of God. If you haven’t been here the last few weeks, as we’ve been walking through Mark, let me give you the set-up. Jesus sent His disciples out one day on a short-term mission trip. We were reminded over the last couple weeks that we, as followers of Jesus, are living on a short-term mission trip in this world until we get to heaven. We’re sharing the gospel wherever we go.

I had a great conversation with a guy from Eretria this last week about how we can know we have eternal life, not based on our works but based on God’s grace. We’re going to follow up, Lord willing, in the days to come. I had another great conversation with a guy from Vietnam. His English wasn’t that great, but it was a lot better than my Vietnamese, so we stuck with English.  I remembered, back during Covid, when we were doing ministry all across the city, giving out food and more. In one particular Vietnamese community, a Vietnamese news station had picked up that story and done a video piece on it. So I was able to pull up that video piece and play it for him. I was hoping that whatever they were saying was positive about our church family. I figured it was, because it showed us giving out food and loving people, so I said, “Listen to this.” God used your serving during Covid to open the door for me to be able to share the gospel with this guy this week.

All this to say, church family, let’s keep sharing the gospel—the good news of God’s love in Jesus—wherever we go. Invite people to come on Sundays. If you are visiting with us today, we are so glad you’re here. We don’t think it’s an accident that you’re here. In all of our songs and prayers, in what I’m about to walk us through in God’s Word, we want more than anything for you to know God’s love for you in Jesus. We want you to hear today that each one of us have been created for relationship with God. We’re made to know and walk with God. The problem in all our lives and in the world is we’ve turned aside from God and His ways to ourselves and our own ways. We’re separated from God and if we die in this state of separation from God, we will spend eternity in judgment because of our sin against God.

But the good news of the Bible is that God has not left us alone in this state. He has come to us in the person of Jesus Who has done what none of us could ever do. He’s lived the life we could never live—a life with no sin. Then, even though He had no sin for which to die, He chose to die on a cross to pay the price for sin. Then He rose from the grave in victory over death. So, He lived the life we couldn’t live, He died the death we deserved to die, then He conquered the enemy we could not conquer.

That means that anyone, anywhere, who puts their trust in Jesus, who repents and believes in the gospel, who turns from their sin and trusts in Jesus and His love, will be forgiven of all your sin and restored to relationship with God forever and ever. You can know this reality and eternal life with God today by faith in Jesus. We invite you to place your faith in Jesus. Then when you do, we invite you to join us in pointing other people to God’s love in Jesus.

So now we come back to the set-up for the story. Jesus’ disciples get back from their short-term mission trip and they debrief with each other. Then Jesus includes them in a miracle of feeding over 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. We know, based on another account of this story from John, one of Jesus’ other disciples, that right after Jesus fed all these people, they were ready to crown Jesus as their King. Mark it down: people love free food.

Jesus knew it was not God the Father’s plan for Him to be crowned King in that way, nor at that time. So He wanted to get the disciples away from that crowd as fast as possible. That’s where we pick up in Mark 6:45. Follow along with me to hear what happens next:

45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55 and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56 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.

Ah, there’s so much here, so much that relates to the needs in our lives and the challenges we walk through. I’m going to use imagery of a storm on the sea, the wind and waves, to represent the challenges you might be walking through right now. I just want you to hear straight from God what He is saying to you in the middle of any and every storm in your life. So, God’s word to you in the storm.

Or if you’re not walking through storms right now, maybe write these things down and hide them in your heart, so you can have them ready to pull from whenever the next storm comes. Here’s what God is saying in His Word, in the middle of the storm.

Jesus calls you into storms.

Did you notice from the very beginning of this passage, that Jesus is the One Who made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side? In other words, Jesus sent His disciples into what would turn into a storm. That probably happened between 7:00 and 9:00 at night, once it had gotten dark and the people had eaten. Then later, in verse 48, Mark tells us that Jesus came out to them on the sea about the fourth watch of the night. That’s anywhere between 3:00 and 6:00 in the morning. The picture is that these disciples were on this boat for at least six hours, if not nine or more hours, by themselves, painfully making headway with the wind against them. In Matthew’s account of this story, he says they were being beaten by the waves, all because they had done what Jesus told them to do. Because they obeyed Jesus, Jesus led them into a storm.

I want to pause to make this clear. There are definitely times in our lives when we face challenges and storms because we have disobeyed Jesus. There are always consequences to sin and disobedience in our lives. Storms follow sin. But at the same time, there are also times when we face storms, not because of our disobedience to Jesus, but actually because of our obedience to Him. We should not be surprised by this. It’s all over the Bible.

Think about Job who experienced suffering because of his obedience to God, his blamelessness before God and his fear of God. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego found themselves in a fiery furnace because they obeyed and worshiped God. Daniel found himself in a den of lions because he was seeking God. We read about prophet after prophet in the Old Testament and don’t get the impression that the pathway to a smooth and trouble-free life is obedience to God and His Word. Actually, it’s the opposite. Then in the New Testament, we see that these disciples were all persecuted. They all suffered and most of them died as a direct result of following Jesus.

Paul knew this as he was writing  his letters from prison. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul said, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). The picture in the New Testament is clear, so of course we’re not surprised. Jesus Himself died on a cross because of His obedience to God the Father. He said, “If you’re going to follow Me, you’re going to experience what I experience.”

So no Christian should be under any illusion that following Jesus leads to a smooth, trouble-free life in this world. When you signed up to follow Jesus, you signed up for storms. Just think about all Jesus calls us to, including a life of making disciples among all the nations.

I spent time last Sunday night with other members of our church family listening to an amazing sister from this church family who has moved to the Middle East to spread the gospel. She’s back in the States for a little while but is about to go back in a couple weeks. It has been really hard for her. This single lady is experiencing all kinds of storms for following Jesus. We can’t make disciples of all the nations without signing up for storms. If you want to avoid storms, don’t make disciples of all the nations, particularly in hard countries where there’s so much opposition to the gospel.

In a similar way, if we’re going to care for the poor or oppressed, if we’re going to step into foster care and adoption, or care for widows, sojourners or refugees, storms will come. We have brothers and sisters in Ukraine right now who are following Jesus straight into storms. A group of men, women and students at our Prince William campus gathered this last Wednesday night specifically to pray for Ukraine and our partners there. At that exact time, pastors and churches we personally know had sent some men into Mariupol to help people get out of that city. They were literally dodging as our church was praying. You don’t rescue refugees in Ukraine without storms. One of the church leaders there sent a message back saying, “We felt your prayers on our skin like an amazing hand of protection was upon us.” Do not underestimate for a second the power of prayer for brothers and sisters on the other side of the world during these days, or during any day.

All this to say, the picture in the Bible is clear. When you follow Jesus, don’t be surprised when storms comes. Just because you are painfully making headway and the wind is against you doesn’t mean you’ve deviated from God’s path. These things actually mean you are directly in God’s path. Sometimes we know the reason for the storm, but other times we don’t.

I’m sure these disciples were wondering why Jesus sent them into these rough waters. This parallels how we often ask, “Why, God?” We don’t always know why. Remember what we said when we talked about Joe a few weeks ago? Amidst all our why questions, remember that God is all-wise. God knows what He’s doing and Jesus knew what He was doing here with His disciples.

Jesus sees you in the storm.

Jesus calls you into storms and Jesus sees you in the storm. Did you notice verse 48? “He saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them.” Jesus saw. Let’s just meditate for a moment on the simple significance of this one word, just three letters: “Jesus saw…” He knew exactly what was going on with these disciples. He saw where they started. He saw where they were now. He saw where they were going, in a way they couldn’t even see. He saw and knew the things they did not know.

Jesus always sees with a perspective that is far wider and far truer than our perspective;  this is particularly true when we’re walking through storms. We see the wind and waves around us. Many times that’s all we can see, which causes fear to rise up in us. What’s going to happen? The wind and waves cause confusion. Why is this happening? The wind and waves cause questions. How do I get through this?

So here’s Jesus on the side of the mountain, seeing and knowing it all in a way the disciples didn’t see and couldn’t know—in ways that you and I, when we’re in the storm, can’t see and don’t know. Didn’t we see this in the book of Job? Remember how the whole story is told to us in a way that we see what Job doesn’t see? In that first chapter, before anything bad happens, we see this conversation in heaven between God and Satan, witnessed by an angelic assembly surrounding them. It ultimately leads to Job’s storms, but at no point does Job know anything about that conversation. In the whole story, all he sees is the storm around him. That’s all he knows. But you and I, as we read the book, we have a different perspective. We know where the story starts. We can even flip to the last chapter to see where it ends. That means we have a whole different perspective that helps us understand what’s happening to Job. We know that God honors Job as holy. We know that Job will eventually be restored. But Job doesn’t know any of that which is part of the point of the book.

Whenever we walk through storms, we always, always, always have a limited perspective. Now, I’m not saying that any time we suffer we can conclude that God has had a conversation with Satan in heaven about our life like He did with Job. The reality is no matter what happens in our storms, our perspective is always partial. It’s limited. Part of the point of the book of Job is to remind us there’s a whole other perspective—the perspective of the God Who sees and knows all.

Just imagine the broader, wider, truer, more complete perspective of Job’s story. Satan stands before God, surrounded by 10,000 angels, accusing Job of false worship and saying God has to pay people to worship Him. Then God responds, “You may do all these things to Job” and Satan does. Satan strikes down Job’s oxen and donkeys, his sheep and camels, his servants, then his children. A hush comes over heaven, as God, Satan and ten thousand angels wait in silence to see Job’s response. Job falls on his knees and worships. He looks up to heaven and says, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Totally unbeknownst to Job, at that moment, 20,000 angel arms shoot into the air and 10,000 angel voices shout, “Worthy is the God of Job.” Then Satan goes running out of God’s presence. That perspective changes the whole story and that’s the point. Job couldn’t see that.

When you and I walk through storms, we never see the whole story. We won’t see it completely on this side of heaven, but we can trust that Jesus sees and knows. In the middle of the storm Jesus sees you. He knows you. He sees and knows every other person and every single detail in ways you could never see or know. Hide this away in your heart. When you struggle to see Him, know that He sees you. Now, that doesn’t make everything easy, which leads to this next truth from this story for you from God.

Jesus prays for you amidst the storm.

What a picture we see in verse 46. Here the disciples are being tossed around in the middle of the sea and while they’re in the storm out there, Jesus is on the mountainside, on His knees, praying. Doubtless He’s interceding for them and their faith amidst the storm they’re facing.

What a picture! Get this in your mind. When we walk through storms, we find ourselves praying all the time. “God, please help me in this way or please help in that way.” We should pray like that. But at the same time, stop and realize that Jesus is praying for you. You ask, “What do you mean that Jesus is praying for me?” Go to Romans 8:31. Right after the Bible talks about suffering in this world and how God is working it for good, even in our suffering the Bible says:

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Do you realize the wonder of this? In the middle of your storm all around you, Jesus is interceding for you and for all the things you need. Think about what the Bible says right after this.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?…. 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Amidst all your needs—strength, hope, peace, comfort, courage, wisdom, faith on days when faith is hard to come by, help to make it through the day—Jesus is at the right hand of God the Father in heaven interceding for everything you need. It will change your perspective on storms in this world when you realize that the Son of God is in heaven interceding on your behalf, ready to give you everything you need at every moment you need it.

Jesus is our greatest need in the storm.

So Jesus prays for you amidst the storm and Jesus is our greatest need in the storm. So let’s make the connection here. I just mentioned all kinds of things we need in the storm: strength, hope, peace, comfort, courage, wisdom, faith, help—I could go on and on and on. But this story is specifically told in such a way that we might see our greatest need is not ultimately these things. Our greatest need is ultimately Jesus. Let me show this to you in verse 48. It’s so interesting.

The disciples are making headway painfully, the wind is against them, then Jesus comes to them walking on the sea. It says, “He meant to pass by them.” Now, what is that about? It sounds like Jesus is just going for a stroll on the water and maybe trying to sneak past them. It’s like, “Ha, ha, I can walk. You guys are struggling.” This disciples recognize it was Jesus, but He’s like, “All right, I’ll come over and help you out.” That’s kind of the picture here, but I don’t think that’s what’s going on here. I mean, Jesus could have taken a variety of routes across that sea where they couldn’t see Him, so I don’t think He was trying to avoid His disciples. This is where I want you to see the beauty of God’s Word and the way it speaks intentionally with this language: “He meant to pass by them” (verse 48).

This language actually takes us all the way back in the Old Testament to times when God’s people were in difficult days—in storms—when God revealed Himself to His people in greater ways than they had ever seen before. The language it uses is “passing by them.” Watch this. Moses was experiencing all kinds of storms trying to lead God’s people. He said, “God, I need to see You in the middle of this. I need to see You.” Listen to how God responded in Exodus 33:19-22:

And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by.”

So this language of passing by is the way God spoke about revealing His glory to Moses. In the very next chapter, listen to Exodus 34:6-8:

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands,  forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.

Moses saw God in a way he had never seen Him before as the Lord passed before him. That’s the language.

Fast forward to Elijah’s life, to a moment when he was so discouraged and depressed that he wanted to die. He did not want to go on but wanted to die. He’s at the end of his rope, so overwhelmed, so heavy. Listen to how God revealed Himself to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-13:

And [God] said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Get the picture. Elijah had seen God reveal Himself in fire from heaven, in rain from the sky and in miraculous provision of food. Now God revealed Himself to Elijah in the sound of a low whisper, in a way he had not seen or heard before. The way the Bible talks about this is “the Lord passed by.” So we have this picture, this pattern in the Bible, of God’s people walking through storms, then in the process they get a clearer picture of the glory, grace, power and love of God as He passes by His people.

Now here in the New Testament, in the middle of this storm at sea, the Spirit of God uses this language to describe Jesus walking on the water: He intended to pass by them. That brings on a whole new meaning, doesn’t it? Because now you realize Jesus meant, He intended, to give these disciples, in the middle of the storm, a greater glimpse of His glory than they had ever seen before.That’s exactly what happened.

Notice verses 51-52: Jesus “got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded.” Why? Because “they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.” In other words, they had just seen Jesus perform a miracle. He turned five loaves of bread and two fish into a meal for over 5,000 people, but they still didn’t get it. They didn’t realize Who Jesus was, until this moment.

It’s interesting that in Matthew’s account of this story, when Jesus gets into the boat, Matthew says those in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” That’s the first time in the Bible that the disciples realize and confess that Jesus is the Son of God, which is a title for God in the flesh. It was in the middle of the storm that they came to that realization. In the middle of the storm, Jesus was revealing His glory, grace, power and love in new ways.

He shows us Who He is in such a way that we can realize in a deeper way Who Jesus is, realizing He is the One we most need in the middle of the storm. We realize that our greatest need in the storm is not strength, peace, hope, wisdom, courage, help or anything else. We need the One Who is the source of all those things. Our greatest need is not for our circumstances to be fixed, as much as we want things to work out according to our thinking. Our greatest need is the One Who is sovereign over all our circumstances. We need Jesus. We need God in the flesh.

What do you most need when the waves are rising around you? You need the One Who speaks and causes the waves to be still. What do you most need when the wind is beating against you? You need the God Who speaks and the wind stops. What do you most need in the middle of the storm? You need the God Who is sovereign over the storm. Jesus is our greatest need in the storm.

Jesus is with you in the storm.

Here’s the beauty in this story and it leads right into this next truth. Hear this from God to you. This God in the flesh—Jesus—is with you in the storm. This One you most need is with you. If we’re not careful, this is the sentence in the story that can cease to shock us, especially if we’ve heard this story many times. Verse 48 says, “About the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea.” So it was the darkest part of the night, when their energy was at its lowest, when their despair was at its deepest, when Jesus showed up and miraculously came to them where they were. Then they realized that Jesus had been watching them all along and He was not for a second going to leave them alone.

Can I just say that again? I want you to soak this in. In the darkest part of your night, when your energy is at its lowest and your despair is at its deepest, Jesus will show up, then you will realize He has seen you all along. He has known you all along and He is not about to leave you alone in that storm. Jesus is with you in the storm. He’s not distant from you; He’s right there with you.

It gets even better. Listen to verse 49: “But when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out.” They were in terror. This was not a cry of faith; this was a cry of fear. There was essentially no faith in what they were saying, yet Jesus comes to them anyway. Listen to this language in verse 50: “But immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.’”

What a beautiful picture of the mercy and kindness of Jesus to come to us where we are and comfort us, even in our cries of fear. Isn’t this encouraging? Particularly on days when our faith is waning and maybe even non-existent. We’re just afraid, confused, frustrated, burdened, worried or anxious. The truth is we’re lacking faith. Yet even in that moment, Jesus comes to us and says, “Take heart. I’m here. Don’t be worried. Don’t be anxious. Don’t be afraid. I am with you.” Even when we can’t muster up that cry of faith, He’s still pursuing us.

Jesus will lead you through the storm.

He’s not only with us, but we can trust that He’s going to lead us through this. Jesus gets into the boat with them, the wind ceases and they cross over to the other side. It just took us seconds to read this story, but the storm lasted hours for them. “Can we keep this up? How long is this going to last? Will this ever end?” Finally, it ended.

Now, here’s the deal. I obviously do not know how your story will unfold, or how the storms you’re in now or you will face in the future. You don’t know that either. But here’s what I do know and here’s what you can know. For all who love and trust and worship God, you can know that Jesus will lead you through to the end and the end will be good, guaranteed.

You ask, “How can you say that?” Well, it’s straight from God. We know that for those who love God, all things work together for good. All things. In the language of the New Testament, all things there means all things. All things work together for good, for good, for good, for those who are called according to His purpose (Roman 8:28). And what’s that purpose? Ah, God sees and knows from the beginning. God saw you way before this storm ever started, all the way back to before you were born. He foreknew you and predestined you to be conformed to the image of His Son, to be renewed and restored into the image in which you were made to experience life. Those He predestined, He also called. Those whom He called, He also justified. Those whom He justified, He also glorified.

That’s where it’s all headed: glory. That’s where this is all going. So, brother or sister in Christ, in the middle of the storm, take heart. There’s a lot we don’t know in the storm, but we do know that beyond a shadow of a doubt, for all who keep their eyes fixed on Jesus, He will lead us through the storm.

Jesus is not just for you in your storms, Jesus is for others in their storms.

He will lead you through the storm and not just you. Part of me wants to stop right here, for each of us to soak this in. But this is not where this passage today stops, so I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this last truth. Jesus is not just for you in your storms, He’s for others in their storms. Our passage doesn’t end with the disciples safe on the other side; it ends with more and more people who are sick and being made well. Jesus is not just for you in your storms, He’s for others in their storms.

So have a different perspective this week as you go out into this world. Maybe at some point you will realize the people you’re around all week have needs in their lives. They’re walking through challenges too. Other students, friends of yours on campus or in school, coworkers, neighbors, the person waiting on you at the restaurant—these are people with needs in their lives and in their families. Jesus is for them in their storms and He brings you across their paths to be a reflection of His love for them and to point them to His love for them. So live with that perspective. In a world of need right around us, in urgent physical and spiritual needs far beyond you, don’t just receive this truth in your life; spread this truth through your life. Don’t just be comforted by Jesus in your life; be committed to sharing Jesus’ love with others’ lives. We live to spread the good news of Jesus with you in the storm.

Scripture Reading

45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened. 53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55 and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56 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 6:45–56

Sermon Recap

1. Jesus calls you into storms (v. 45).
2. Jesus sees you in the storm (v. 48).
3. Jesus prays for you amidst the storm (v. 46, see Romans 8:31-34).
4. Jesus is our greatest need in the storm (v. 48).
5. Jesus will lead you through the storm (v. 51).
6. Jesus is not just for you in your storms; Jesus is for others in their storms (v. 56).

Discussion Questions

What does the passage say?

Read Mark 6:45-56 aloud as a group and take time to let group members share observations about the passage. Try not to move into interpretation of the passage or application of what you have read quite yet.

Simply share what you all observe from the text.

  1. In your own words, describe what had happened immediately prior to the events in this passage (vv. 39-44).
  2. Consider asking a member of the group to explain this passage in their own words. What events took place in the story?
    • What did Jesus do before He spent time in prayer (vv. 45-46)?
    • How did the disciples respond when they saw Jesus walking on the water (vv. 49-50)?
    • Why does Mark say the disciples were astounded in this situation (vv. 51-52)?

What does the passage mean?

  1. Jesus had just fed thousands of people in front of His disciples and yet they still did not understand about the loaves and had hardened hearts. Describe the character of Jesus (notice how he responds to the disciples’ fear; might he be described as patient? Why or why not?). Describe the condition of the disciples.
  2. Jesus’ ministry is now quite public. He is easily recognized and people from all around run to Him asking for physical healing or help. Describe the response and condition of the crowds to Jesus. We know that the crowds love to receive healing and help but they struggle to repent and trust Jesus as their Lord (see John 6:65-68). What does this tell us about the different ways people respond to Christ even today (see Mark 4:13-20)?
  3. Jesus’ miraculous acts communicate a message about Him to the world. What is that message and what are the implications for every human being?

Application Questions

How can we apply this passage to our lives?

  1. Jesus carves out time to pray alone to the Father. This is an example for us to follow. How could we follow in His example and prioritize time alone with nothing on the agenda but prayer and communion with the Father
  2. If we are “in Christ” then we are united with the One who walks on water. How does this knowledge change how we experience storms and difficulties during the week?
  3. Are you currently in the midst of a difficult life situation? If so, would you be willing to bravely share with your Church Group family what you are going through and allow them to care for you and walk with you in the midst of your storm?
    • Reminder – in the storm our perspective is small and limited, but don’t forget that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf! (Romans 8:31-34)
    • Reminder – we can come to the Father in our fear. He says to His disciples, “Do not be afraid.”

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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