Read: Mark 6:45-56
“Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and to go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray. When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night, He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them” (Mark 6:45-48 NASB).
Curiously, the fourth watch of the night is between 3:00 – 6:00 am, yet it says, “When it was evening.” Evening is from sunset to bedtime. So, did Christ wait from evening until the fourth watch to observe them straining against the wind as he prayed? Why did he wait to assist them?
Secondly, the words, “and He intended to pass by them.” Did he need the disciples to call out to Him to help? Did he have a different destination than the boat?
For me, the lesson is patience. Don’t we want answers and guidance during the first watch? Isn’t it difficult to WAIT for help? How many of us seek prayerful guidance only in the fourth watch?
The Bible repeatedly tell us, Jesus prayed. Maybe, we’re not supposed to get early answers without prayer. Prayer is the linchpin that propels us to the other shore. We don’t need to walk on water because we know Jesus can. We don’t need to strain against the oars, because we know Christ is rowing with us. We also know when we call out to Him, He gets in the boat with us saying, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.”