Dr. Baruch is the senior lecturer at the Zera Avraham Institute based in Israel. Although all courses are taught in Hebrew at the Institute, Dr. Baruch is pleased to share this weekly address in English.
To find out more about our work in Israel. Please visit us on the web at loveisrael.org. That’s one word, loveisrael.org. Now here’s Baruch with today’s lesson.
Speaker 2: God is much more active in your life than you probably realize. He’s working, he’s moving in many different ways to accomplish different purposes for him and for your blessing. The question is, are you and I responding properly to how God is moving and what he’s doing for us and in us? I think more often than not, the answer is no.
More often than not, we’re not even aware of the things that God is doing. Now, here’s the problem. In the passage of scripture that we’re going to be looking at, there were two groups of people. One group was indeed responding to the things that Messiah was teaching and doing.
The problem is the second group was not. And the second group were the disciples, the very people that God wanted to use in a mighty way. But because they were not emphasizing things according to God’s perspective, they were keeping on missing out on the truths and opportunities to be used by God.
Take out your bible and look with me to the book of Mark and chapter six, the book of Mark and chapter six. Now we saw in our last study that there was a great miracle, the feeding of the 5,000. And what we should glean from that is that God is able to do all things. There’s no limitations.
But when we look at how the disciples responded or we should say how they failed to respond. We see that they weren’t putting the emphasis on the same things that God was trying to teach them.
So let’s begin, Mark chapter six and verse 45. And immediately he forced his disciples to go into a boat and to go before him to the other side to Bethsaida. Now we know the context before the feeding of the 5,000 before any of that, Yeshua and his disciples, they wanted to be by themselves. And now after a long day of teaching and a good meal, the day was coming to an end.
So Messiah said, literally he commanded and there’s an emphasis here. According to the biblical word, he forced them into the boat in order that they would go before him to a specific location. Where was that? Bethsaida. That they might spend the night there and what was he going to do? Well, they didn’t know, but he did.
Look again at that scripture. And immediately he compelled his disciples to get into the boat and to go before him to the other side to Bethsaida until he dismissed the crowd. Verse 46, and as he was bidding farewell unto them, what happened? It says, as he was doing that, he finished and he went up onto the mountain to do what, to pray.
Now that’s going to be important towards the end of our time together. But I want you to see according to the will of Yeshua, his disciples were in one place and he was at another location. And what does he say that he was doing? The text says that he was there alone to pray. Now something’s going to happen. And this is not the first time we’re going to see this. In fact, we’ve already seen it in an earlier chapter.
Move on to verse 47. And it was becoming evening, the end of the day. And the boat was in the midst of the sea and he hears an emphasis and he was alone on land. So we see a dichotomy, a separation between Yeshua and his disciples. And it didn’t happen by chance. It happened because Yeshua wanted it to take place. There was a purpose for that. He was alone on that mountain and he was praying.
Now prayer is of course important in the scripture and we need to see that there’s two aspects of prayer. One is when we speak to God, but probably the most important aspect of prayer is when we listen.
So God is well. God is going to speak, but he’s also there to listen. And when we look at this scripture, we’re going to see that the disciples in so many ways fail to do the right thing. They fail to learn the truths that Messiah wanted to teach them.
Verse 48. And seeing them struggling in the rowing. Now we know he gave them command, go to the other side. It wasn’t that great of a distance. We know from other gospels that the place where the feeding of the 5,000 took place was not all that far from Bethsaida. So they had a short distance to row. But what happens? Well, they were struggling in their rowing. Why was that? Well, we read that there was a wind against them. And we learn a little bit more about that when and how problematic the wind was. Because at the end of the verse, it’s said that this was until the fourth watch of the night.
Now we’re given a lot of information and all too often, I look at commentaries, I try to learn from other people and I was amazed that so few of the commentaries mentioned the fact that a great deal of time had elapsed. We’re told earlier on that it was becoming evening. That is the start of sundown.
Now, if sun downed at that time was around six, seven, eight, let’s even say nine o’clock. We know that the fourth watch begins at three in the morning. So we’re talking about a time of just maybe an hour to row from where they were to where they were commanded to go. But at least six hours had taken to elapse, had gone by. And that is to show the intensity of that wind and their struggle. They simply could not get any closer to Bethsaida.
Now they’re there for all that time. Let me ask you a question. Have we seen earlier in the gospel of Mark where the disciples were on the sea of Galilee, that same sea and a great tempest came up? Absolutely. It was a time that Yeshua was sleeping in that boat. And what did they do? They panicked. And remember what Messiah did, he calmed the wind immediately by his command. And he scolded them because of their lack of faith. Why? Well, in that case, there was evidence that this was a demonic influence, that wind.
But here we don’t see that. In fact, we see a very similar location, a very similar event. But perhaps the outcome, the cause of it is God himself. Why? Well, we know biblically that God does not tempt his people. The scripture says that God cannot be tempted by sin nor does he tempt anyone. But he does want us to grow. He does want us to mature.
So sometimes he test us not so that we fail, but rather, so we grow and mature. That we learn those things in our life where we have weaknesses and we learn those things which are good and we emphasize those. So we’re able to use them again and again to accomplish that same purpose of bringing about God’s will, his purposes in a given situation.
But the sad truth is the disciples had learned nothing. Instead of doing something, doing what? Well perhaps exercising faith, perhaps minimally. Well, let me ask you a question. Where was Yeshua? He was up on that mountain praying.
Now we talked about the fact that there’s two types of prayer. There is a type when you speak, was Messiah necessarily speaking to his heavenly father, praising him, thanking him, perhaps? But there’s that second aspect of listening.
Now, when we look at the text, it simply says that he went up there to pray. We don’t have any dialogue, any indication of what he was saying. Many times when Messiah prays, for example, in the garden of Gethsemane and other places, we have the words that he said. We’re given some guidance in what he was communicating to his heavenly father, but here nothing. And the reason for that is very simple, because he was there on that mountain, he purposely was not with his disciples because he was testing them to see how they would respond to this familiar situation, this tempest that came up.
Now, I used to live in the Galilee and I talked to people who worked on the sea of Galilee, fishermen and such. And I asked them about the storms and they get storms. But in so many of the commentaries, they said how freaking it was for these major storms to come up.
Well, in the six years that I lived in the Galilee, I was not aware of any storm like this. I don’t believe that this was a natural occurrence. I believe that God did this in order to test the disciples, to see if they would turn to Messiah in prayer, whether they would exercise faith, whether them in the name of Messiah, whether they would calm that storm like Yeshua did.
I mean, the maturity of the believer is that we would begin to act and behave and bring about the same outcomes that Messiah did. What does Messiah say? In that prayer he says that we would do even greater works than him, by means of who? The Holy Spirit.
So look again at our scripture, we see that they were there even until the fourth watch and what happened, Messiah came to them. It says, and he came walking upon the sea and he desired… And don’t miss this, he desired to pass them right by. He wasn’t… He had no interest in coming and getting into the boat and taking charge of the situation. He desired to pass right by, why? Hoping that eventually they would turn to God, but what did they do? They just continue to row and row and row utilizing the flesh.
And that’s a message for us. All too often you and I do the same thing. Instead of when we’re faced with a struggle, opposition, a problem, a hardship, whatever, instead of turning to God in prayer, instead of utilizing the truth, the anointing, the power that God has given to a believer, instead of doing that, what do we do? We keep fighting the situation in the flesh and we make no progress. They were there for two hours, four hours, at least six hours and nothing change.
Well, look what happens in verse 49. Even though he intended to pass by remember that word, the Greek word [Greek 00:13:08], and in contrast to something. In contrast to his intent, what happens? And seeing him upon the sea walking, they perceived it was a ghost. That’s what they thought.
Now they weren’t ready to believe in the sovereignty of God. They weren’t wanting to believe that with God all things are possible and to utilize the truth and the power and the teaching of Messiah that he gave them and bring that wind to becoming still. But they were rarely unable to believe the legends of the sea of Galilee.
There were stories about different things, supernatural occurrences, taking place upon the sea. And they were willing and able to believe this was a ghost. This was a supernatural occurrence. But they weren’t willing to believe in exercise to supernatural truth of scripture. The teachings of Messiah who gives us authority over those things which are in conflict with the will of God.
Verse 50, they see him, they cry out for all had seen him and were what? It says, they were confounded. They were confused. They could not understand how this was taking place and what happens? He speaks with them.
Now, it doesn’t say he spoke to them, but rather he spoke with them. It is a term that shows greater intimacy. And that believe… Many of the scholars believe that shows what he was trying to teach them all along, about intimacy with him, about his presence in their life.
So he speaks with them and he says to them, verse 50, take hope or be confident. And it is an admonition, we could say, an admonition to exercise faith, to believe in the promises of God. And he says and don’t miss this. He says, take heed, take confidence for he says I am, and don’t miss that. In the Greek, [Greek 00:15:35].
Why is that important? Because if you know the biblical language, this term should just jump out from the page. Yeshua says what? I am. It is the way in the Greek language to speak about Jehovah God.
We’re seeing here, not just the sovereignty of God, but we’re seeing the divinity of Messiah, him showing his authority over the sea and over all which is in this world. For he says, I am, do not fear. Now he says that in the presence. And the question is this, lots of people will believe that in the past God did these miracles, he does those miracles perhaps in the future. But the question is this, is our faith such that we believe that God is active today in people’s life? That he will move in our given and present situation.
Well he says these things, look if you would to verse 51. And he goes up into the boat and immediately what happens? He just steps on that boat, doesn’t say anything, doesn’t do anything, his presence is the key. The wind just is cut off. And they were, and it uses two words. They were greatly and exceedingly amazed in themselves.
Now why was that? Well, they just saw a miracle. They just saw a great, great supernatural event. When he took two fish and five little loaves of bread and he fed 5,000 men, in addition women and children. And they didn’t take heed, they didn’t see the significance. How do I know that? Well, what’s said in the next verse.
Look if you would to verse 52. For they were not understanding the loaves. Now I want to pause for a moment because verse 52 is very important, understanding one of the truths of spirituality. See you and I have to ask ourselves, do I want to grow? Do I want to mature? Do I want to become more useful to God? Well, if the answer to those questions are, yes I do. Then you have to learn to respond properly to the things that God is doing in your life.
Now, when God moves, if we don’t understand it, if we don’t respond properly, there’s going to not be a positive outcome, the outcome that he intended. But in the end, there’s going to be a negative outcome. The question is, are we going to respond in faith to the things of God? The disciples were not. The disciples were not perceiving truth in how God was moving in and around their life.
So look again at that verse, verse 52, for they did not comprehend. They did not understand the loaves, meaning the miracle of the loaves and what came about because of that? Well, it says, and because of that, their hearts were hardened.
Now I want to talk a few minutes about that phrase. Been teaching and you can get this on our Hebrew website. It’s in Hebrew, but never less, it’s the same truth. And that is this, we’ve been learning about, in our Hebrew studies concerning Pharaoh and Pharaoh we know he had a hard heart.
The question is, how did he get that hard heart? And there are those and that’s increasing today, that wants to say that well, it came about because of the sovereignty of God, what do they mean? God simply willed that Pharaoh’s heart would be hardened and so it was. Well, let me ask you, because of his heart, what came about? His demise.
Now that’s important because, does that mean that God, the sovereignty of God means that God can just reach into a man’s heart and conform it in such a way that that one can’t help but disobeyed God? So in the end result, God is justified in punishing him. Is that what the scripture teach us? Absolutely not. Not something God of scripture. That’s not what the sovereignty of God is all about.
When you look at Pharaoh’s life and why he had a hard heart, you have to understand something. If you study good between Exodus six and Exodus 12, what you find is this, that every time and I mean every time it says, God hardened his heart. It was right after that God have revealed himself through some miraculous act. Pharaoh perceived it, he saw it, God manifested himself to him. And what happens? Pharaoh did not accept it. He rejected it. He was not transformed. He was not moved from his will when he saw these things. And that’s exactly what verse 52 is trying to teach us.
We always have to ask ourselves, why is this verse in a given scripture? Why is God revealing this piece of information to us? He says in verse 52, they did not comprehend the loaves. And as an outcome of that we read, and their hearts were hardened. Very important. That verb was hardened is in the passive. That means something brought it about.
Now, if you’re of one theology, you’ll say, well, God did that, but doesn’t say that in the text. Doesn’t say that God hardened their hearts. It was because of their faithlessness. Because they did that respond properly to what God was doing. What does the scripture says? The scripture says, because they did not understand the loaves. As an outcome of that, because of that, their hearts were hardened.
And the point is this, every time that we fail to perceive, we fail to respond in faith, it has a negative outcome on our spiritual condition. And when we reject God in our life, the outcome of that is that our hearts are going to be hardened.
Now is God doing that? Absolutely. That’s the spiritual law that he has set up. In the same way that says, if you steal you’ll get five years in jail and someone steals, it’s not that the judge caused him to be in jail for five years. It was his thievery that caused him to be in jail five years. The judge simply enforced the law.
This is exactly what we learn about Pharaoh and what we’re learning here. When we violate scriptural truth, when we reject God’s moving, his calling, his communication, his reaching out to us, when we reject that and fail to see the significance, it’s going to put us in a very poor spiritual condition.
Well, let’s move on to verse 53. And they passed over and they came to a region called Gennesaret or Ginosar in some translations. And there they anchored their boat. Verse 54, and coming out of the boat immediately they recognize him.
Now remember, what’s taking place? He sent his disciples, you go ahead to Bethsaida, but I’m going up on a mountain to pray. And all of these people, what did they do? Well, we’re going to see what they did because the scripture tells us, look if you would to verse 55, it says the whole region did something, they ran.
Now today no matter where you might be, you see people out running and jogging. It’s very common. But back 2000 years ago, people by and large did not run, of course Elijah was an exception to that. But it was rare. It is to emphasize something. These people ran to where they perceived Yeshua was going to be. It was an emphasis upon their desire to be with him. They were thinking of him.
In contrast to that, the disciples in the midst of that hardship, that scary wind that came up upon the sea. They kept rowing and rowing for at least six hours and never occurred to them, where’s Messiah? He’s up on that mountain praying. And perhaps the purpose of him going up on that mountain was not to go there and communicate with his heavenly father, but rather he was there waiting and listening for their cries of help. Their calling out in faithfulness to him, but it was very silent.
Look on again to verse 55. And the whole region, that whole region ran. And they began to do something. They brought those who were on pallets, who were having sickness or disease. And they did that. They brought them to wherever they heard he was.
Now why is that important, heard he was. Because in the scripture there is that inherent relationship between hearing and faith. That word hearing is to teach us that these individuals who ran to meet him, they were exercising faith and that is in contrast to the disciples. The very ones who Messiah was going to entrust with the leadership of his plans and his purposes.
Now we need to bring this home to us. Again, are we paying attention to what’s going on in our life spiritually? Do we see God moving and if we do, how do we respond to it? Are we quick to understand that he’s calling us to exercise faith?
One more verse and we’ll be done. Verse 56. And whenever he entered into, didn’t matter where. Wherever he entered into a village or into a city or into a field or into the marketplace, what happens? Well, there were those who wanted to do something, to touch the hem of his garment. And it says, whoever did that, they were what? Healed.
And we learn the importance of that hem of that garment. The quarter of that garment, which is called the [titset 00:00:27:00]. It’s where those tassels were that relate to what, the commandments of God. It shows that they were exercising faith and that faith brought them to what, the commandments of God.
And why is that important? Because Messiah wanted the disciples to exercise that same faith and to understand that God has suffered, that God has given us commandments. And when we submit to those and apply them to our life, power will be released within us.
We are saved by faith, but the anointing and the power of the Holy Spirit is going to be released in you when you submit to the purposes, the plans, the words, the commandments of God.
Well, we’ll close until next time, may God richly bless you in your study of the Holy scripture?
Speaker 1: Well, we hope you will benefit from today’s message and share with someone else.
Please plan to join us each week at this time and on this station for the radio edition of loveisrael.org.
Again, to find out more about us, please visit us at our website, loveisrael.org. There you will find articles and several other lectures from our teacher, Dr. Baruch. These teachings are in video form. You may download them or watch them in streaming video.
Until next week. May the Lord bless you in our Messiah Yeshua, that is Jesus, as you walk with him. Shalom from Israel.