Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXII: Dealing With Our Fears In Serving God
(Mark 6:45-52)
  1. Introduction
    1. God's call for the believer to follow Him in life does not itself make the believer exempt from fear.
    2. Take the disciples: though they had already extensively served God, they experienced terror upon seeing Jesus walking toward them on the Sea of Galilee, Mark 6:49-50a.
    3. However, enough had occurred that they should not have been afraid, Mark 6:52, and this incident gives a lesson in overcoming our fears in serving the Lord.
  2. Dealing With Our Fears In Serving God, Mark 6:45-52.
    1. Following their miraculous service for God, the disciples became afraid, Mk. 6:12-13, 30-44, 45-50a.
      1. The disciples had already been extensively involved in serving the Lord, Mark 6:12-13,30-44.
        1. Jesus had sent them out to heal the sick, exorcise demons and preach the gospel, Mk. 6:12-13, 30.
        2. Upon returning and trying to get away for a ministry break, the disciples had been impressed into the service of handing out the five loaves and two fishes miraculously to feed the five thousand, 6:32-44.
      2. Following this extensive period of service for God, Jesus had sent the twelve out across the Sea of Galilee in a boat while He stayed behind to pray, Mk. 6:45-46.
      3. However, the disciples became terrified at seeing Jesus walk toward them on the water, Mk. 6:47-50a.
    2. This fear was unjustified according to Mark's comment in Mark 6:52:
      1. Mark declared that the disciples' hearts were hardened as they had not considered the implications of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, Mark 6:52.
      2. Due to this hardness of unbelief, they had experienced great, needless terror, Mk. 6:49-50a, 6:51.
    3. To explain why and how the disciples should not have gone through such fear, we look at the context in view of the Old Testament implications:
      1. When Jesus saw the men were terrified at His walking toward them on the water, He calmed them down by saying, "Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid," Mark 6:50b.
      2. This expression of "Be of good cheer" was a familiar quotation of Isaiah 43:1 in the Greek Septuagint, the Bible commonly used in Palestine at that time, cf. Bib. Know. Com., N.T., p. 131.
      3. Isaiah 43:1 is God's call for the nation, Israel to "Fear not" in their efforts to return to Palestine from the Babylonian dispersion, that even if they passed through the waters, they would not overflow them, for "I am the Lord thy Go d . . . thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Sheba for thee." In other words, Israel was to be reminded of God's initial exodus in taking her from Egypt through the Red Sea as hope that, once again, in this second "exodus" from Babylon, God would provide for her welfare in her heading back to Palestine in preparation for the kingdom.
      4. Thus, though passing across the Sea of Galilee, the disciples were to have trusted the Old Testament promises that if Jesus was Messiah, they were to make it across the other side en route to the Kingdom.
      5. The feeding of the five thousand brought to mind Deuteronomy 18:18-19 where the Prophet to come like Moses who fed the people in the wilderness miraculously would duplicate a ministry like Moses! Jesus had just fed the people miraculo us bread in the wilderness: thus, the disciples should have recognized that they were protected by God until the kingdom was set up according to prophecy.
      6. Thus, they should not have been afraid of seeing Jesus walking toward them on the water: He we merely fulfilling Isaiah 43:1-2 in demonstrating Himself as God helping His people, Israel!
Lesson: The disciples were unnecessarily afraid of seeing Jesus on the water, for had they aligned what had just happened to them in the feeding of the five thousand with what they were seeing of Jesus on the water with the Old Testament teachings in Isaiah 43 and Deuteronomy 18 they knew so well, they would have rejoiced in seeing evidence of their Kingdom's Messiah before them instead of calling out in superstitious terror!

Application: The key to fulfillment in serving God is to know and to apply His Word. Failure to do so puts us in the awkward position of faithlessly having great unnecessary fear in times of turbulence.