”And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’ “ Mark 6:49-50
Jesus had just spent a large portion of the night deep in prayer.
Just hours before thousands of people, led by the disciples, had been ready to force him to become king. In him they had seen the solution to all their troubles. He could remove all the barriers preventing them from defeating Rome. He could heal the sick and wounded, even raise the dead, so they didn’t have to worry about losing soldiers in battle. And when he had multiplied the loaves and fishes he solved the problem of feeding an army. But Jesus hadn’t come to solve all our problems. Jesus had come as our Savior to solve the problem we have with sin and becoming a king leading an army against the Romans was counterproductive to fulfilling that plan so Jesus sent the disciples and the the people away.
After praying, perhaps for the people’s acceptance of the work he was trying to accomplish for them, perhaps for his own resolve to be true to the path the Father was leading him down, Jesus came near to the disciples walking on the water.
But the disciples didn’t recognize him. Perhaps their minds were clouded by the frustrating end to what had looked like a perfect opportunity to crown Jesus king. Perhaps they were frustrated and tired after spending hours attempting to row a boat to shore against a impossible wind. Perhaps the thought of a man walking on water was just too fantastic for them to even consider that this could be Jesus. We don’t know why they didn’t recognize Jesus but they didn’t.
Could it be that at times disappointed expectations, frustrated dreams, and fatigue from all the work life piles on us has caused us to not recognize the presence of Jesus coming close? Could it be that because things are not going as we think they ought to that we’re letting stress blind us to the miraculous things Jesus is doing all around us? Could it be that because we’re afraid that nothing will ever be as we think it should be that we misidentifying the presence of Jesus and believe he’s an enemy?
Perhaps, like Jesus, a night in prayer, humbly seeking God’s plan and his will, is what’s required to tune our hearts and open our eyes so we can see Jesus.