“For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.”
– Mark 6:52
At first glance, these words seem to describe the Scribes and Pharisees. However, these were not the hearts of these religious elites but those of Jesus’ own twelve! How can this be a description of a disciple of Christ, though? I believe there is a straightforward answer that is before us. Jesus’ disciples are imperfect children of God, just as all Christians are!
Jesus and the twelve had another long day of ministry. After watching Jesus manufacture food for thousands and helping Him distribute it, they attempted to get away for rest yet could not. They ended up exhausted in the middle of the night. They were in a boat in the middle of the sea. They were in the depths of the sea in the middle of a storm. It is no wonder they were “greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure.” They found themselves in a situation that was so desperate they could do nothing to help themselves. And, at that very moment, Jesus came walking by, and they marveled!
You would think after the many miracles the twelve had seen Jesus do, they would have more trust. The Lord is very gracious, though, and builds His disciples up for service. Every experience of testing demands that every saint develop more faith and courage. As A.W. Tozer once wrote, “God is very patient with His children and often tolerates in them carnal traits so gross as to shock their fellow Christians. But that is only for a while. As more light comes to our hearts and especially as we go on to new and advanced spiritual experiences, God begins to impose disciplines upon us to purge us from the same faults He tolerated before.”
As Christians, we find ourselves in constant spiritual battles. We are chosen and blessed people, but without battles, we remain immature children when the Lord wants us to become mature men and women. When you find yourself in situations that seem desperate or sins that you seem to keep repeating, understand that the Lord may be bringing you to the end of self. When He walks alongside you and appears to be passing by without noticing or caring, He is just waiting for you to call out and invite Him into the boat with you, just as He did with the twelve.
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ ”
– 2 Corinthians 12:9