When Evening Had Come
“On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, ‘Let’s cross over to the other side.'” (Mark 4: 35 (NKJV)
This verse precedes the storm that we are all very familiar with: the one that whips the boat carrying a napping Jesus and the disciples all about the sea. We know how the story goes (with Jesus commanding, “Peace! Be still!”) but today, I’d like to draw your attention to this little introductory verse, for it is here that all believers can extract powerful truths.
“On the same day…”–Jesus had been teaching his disciples. They had been learning and absorbing at the Savior’s feet. Jesus taught the multitude in parables, but “when they were alone, He explained all things to his disciples” (Mark 4:33, NKJV). It was after the day of teaching, after church if you will, that Jesus makes this suggestion.
“…when evening had come…”–It is now dark. Imagine the scene, Friend: the disciples were in a daylong seminar with the Son of God! Not only that, but after all the others had gone, Jesus gave a tutoring session, not a teacher’s assistant, not a representative or some flunky, but “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” Himself. Surely, the disciples are feeling good. I mean, I know how I feel after a minister gives a sermon and breaks down the Word of God in a way that touches my soul deeply. I would be floating on air if Jesus Himself was my pastor! Now, though, the night has come upon them.
“…He said to them…”–Surely, Jesus knew what was about to go down on that sea. He is the Son of God, right? Not only that, though, but He invited them into it. This isn’t the first or only time we have seen this: “Have you considered My servant Job?”
“…Let us cross over to the other side.”–This is the undertaking. It doesn’t seem daunting because the storm isn’t upon them yet. Plus there are experienced seamen among the disciples: fishermen. They don’t have anything to worry about, right?
Friend, if you find yourself in a storm today, I’d like to remind you of it’s prelude: You have been studying and praying. There is no better armor upon entering a night season than the Word of God. Please don’t forget that as the winds and waves toss your personal boat. And yes, it’s dark now, but we know the Light of the world! In fact, we have been dwelling in that Light because we know that God’s power is with us when we do so: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15: 4, NKJV).
And Friend, you are not by yourself. I, too, have been there being so consumed with my circumstance (whether it is one I am afraid is coming or one I’m in or one I have come out of but can’t shake loose) that I have forgotten the nearness of God. Sometimes we look so much at the problem that we fail to remember the promises God makes to us. Remember, “He said to them…” If Jesus says it, if Jesus commands it, it is for our benefit because “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8: 28, NKJV).
Moreover, He said, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Oh how grateful I am for the persistent presence of God! He didn’t say, “Let’s go out there and hope we make it across safely.” Getting to the other side with Jesus is assured. “God is not a man, that He should lie…” (Numbers 23: 19, NKJV), and his promises are guaranteed: “…not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14: 27, NKJV).
These stormy nights are opportunities for us to grow in our faith, Friend, but we have to be prepared: Where have we been all day? Were we where we were supposed to be? Who have we been with when the storm arises? We have to know we are about the work of God: Are we in this storm because Jesus commanded us to go, or are we in it because we are doing things our way and in our time? If God told us to go, we know we will make it to the other side!
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your presence. I know that I am not always as trusting as I should be, but I see now how the storms You allow to come strengthen my faith and help me to see Your awesomeness anew. Teach me to trust You. Teach me to remember your promises. I know I will cross over to the other side with You! Amen