Mark’s gospel is about discipleship. Discipleship is about seeing. But what happens when our hard hearts blind our eyes? The story below follows the miracle of leftovers in which the disciples see Jesus feed over 5000 people with five loaves and two fish. The saw the 12 baskets of leftovers and so should be pretty convinced that Jesus is the real deal at this point.
45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray.
47 When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.48 When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea. He intended to pass them by.49 But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out;50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” 51 Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened. (Mark 6:45-52, NRSV)
There are several miracles in this sequence – feeding the 5000, see the disciples from the mountain in the midst of a storm, walking on water, calming the storm. But the end result is this, “but their hearts were hardened.”
I wonder how much we miss because our hearts are hardened? Do we fear when we ought to “take heart”? Do we feed the 5000 and then in the midst of struggle forget about God’s provision? How easy it is to take our eyes off of Jesus and fix them on the storm. Yet he says to us, “Take heart, I am; do not fear.”
May we have courageous hearts that see what God is up to even in the midst of the storm.