We are quickly entering into spring revival season. I am still a supporter of church revivals. There is nothing wrong with a congregation seeking to set out more time in their schedule for increased spiritual emphasis. We all need revival at times. Life has a way of wearing us down. It is easy to allow our faith to grow cold even in times of joy and peace. It happened to the disciples when Jesus was with them. It can happen to us.
Jesus fed his disciples and a multitude with just five loaves of bread and two fish (Mk. 6:31-44). However, in the midst of the miracle, the disciples were burned out. Mostly, they were tired. As we read what takes place, it is easy to notice that the followers are a little grumpy. But, this was only a small symptom of a worse condition, a faith that had grown cold. Jesus sent his disciples ahead by boat while he sent the multitudes back home. The Savior was about to comfort and challenge His disciples.
“And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened. And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore. And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him.”
They did not recognize Jesus.
We often see the hand of God in life after He has brought us few something. However, as we go through life our faith increases. Over time it should become easier to sense the presence of God in our life and the way the Holy Spirit is leading. Yet, for the disciples, they still did not recognize Jesus who they had already spent a significant amount of time following. As Jesus came walking on the sea, the reverted to previous beliefs and assumptions. They had forgotten about Jesus.
They did not expect a miracle.
As Jesus stepped into the boat, the wind and waves were calmed. Jesus had greeted them, told them to not be fear but to have cheer because He was there. But, they were looking around, amazed at what had happened. Almost like they had never seen Jesus perform a miracle. Not that we should become disinterested with God’s power displayed, but it was more in the sense that the disciples were not expecting a miracle. Remember, they were toiling in rowing. We are not shown whether they were crying out to God for help. They were not expecting assistance. When we no longer go to God in prayerful expectation, we have grown cold.
Their hearts were hardened.
Scripture finally tells us the problem with the disciples. They did not consider the miracle of the loaves because their hearts were hard. Forgetfulness of Gods previous blessings, failure to see His provision at an earlier time has now resulted in a hard heart. Their passion for God had cooled. They couldn’t put two and two together, the feeding and the calming had both come from Jesus. The hardness of their heart had resulted in a barrier to see God move, a failure to move after God, and a failure to reach out in faith.