From Terror to Astonishment

Scripture: Mark 6:50-51, ‘Because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed.’


Observations: After the feeding of the 5,000 Jesus sends his disciples across the lake so that he can spend some time alone in prayer. During the night he decides to walk across the lake, but his disciples see him and think he’s a ghost. Mark tells us that they were terrified. The Greek word implies that they were shaking with fear But Jesus speaks to them and says, ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ Once Jesus climbs into the boat the wind dies down, and Mark says that their fear turns to amazement. In the Greek it actually has three words that mean ‘very,’ ‘abundantly,’ and ‘astonished.’ They go from shaking with fear to total utter astonishment. And the change is due to a change their perception. What they thought was a ghost turns out to be Jesus. What initially terrified them ends up amazing them.


Application: Sometimes I can read a passage over and over and not think of a single application, but after reading this one for the fourth time, that idea of terror turning to astonishment just grabbed me. Sometimes the thing that terrifies us turns into something amazing. Maybe there is something in your life that makes you afraid, or hurt, or sad. But maybe God will do something in the midst of that experience and turn it into something amazing. Maybe Jesus will turn up and hop into your boat and make everything alright. No matter what it is you think you see, remember that Jesus is with you and he can redeem any situation.


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I know that because of Jesus You love me and You are working all things for my ultimate good. But Lord, I admit that sometimes I can’t see that. Sometimes all I can see are the crashing waves, the storm clouds, and things that terrify me. In those times Lord remind me that You are with me through Your Holy Spirit, and that I need not be afraid. Lord, encourage me by Your Spirit that I may see Your love and grace and power at work all around me. Lord, may You redeem the things that fill me with fear and instead fill me with joy and amazement. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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