Mark 6:46-50

Mark 6:46 (KJB)
And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.

Now Jesus had sent the multitudes away and then went up into the mountain to pray. It is not known why He prayed at this time. It may have been for the crowds or for the upcoming lesson the disciples were going to learn on the Sea of Galilee. He finally had some alone time with His heavenly Father. (Mat 14:23 KJV) And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. When it speaks about the evening coming, this is not the next day but the second part of the evening which was total darkness.

Mark 6:47 (KJB)
And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.

The ship must have been about two miles out in the midst of the sea and they have now encountered one of those famous storms which crop up on the Sea of Galilee without warning. Jesus did not come to the disciples immediately but may have waited to teach them a lesson in faith. Just as Jesus did not come immediately when He found out that Lazarus was sick. Jesus’ timing was always absolutely perfect and He conveyed whatever lesson needed to be taught perfectly, just as He is about to do.

Mark 6:48 (KJB)
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.

The word “contrary” in the Greek carries with it the meaning of “hostile toward or over against,” so this was not just a thunderstorm but a wicked storm. The fourth watch of the night would have been between 3 AM and 6 AM. The disciples were already about two miles into their journey when this terrible storm had hit. They were definitely in fear for their lives because of the raging sea. Right in the middle of their test, Jesus comes to them all calm and walking on the sea. (Job 9:8 KJV) Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea. Job speaks about God treading upon the sea. The word “treadeth” in Job 9:8 carries with it the meaning of walking. Here is another proof that Jesus is God. Who could walk upon the raging sea unless it is God Himself come down to us? The elements in all their rage could not keep the Son of God from coming to His people and this teaches us that no matter how rough our circumstances are, Jesus will always be there to help His children. It seems Jesus was walking at a fast pace since He would have passed by them and probably would have made it to the shore before them.

Mark 6:49 (KJB)
But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:

It seemed they had no problem in believing in ghosts but their real problem was that they thought so little of Jesus. They had seen Him walking on the sea but even after seeing the miracle of the feeding of the thousands, they still had fears and still had trouble in believing that Jesus could intervene. Their reaction was a typical human response in a situation of increased anxiety. Even though it was Jesus coming to them, they had a response of fear like some did in the Old Testament such as Moses in Exodus 3:6. (Exo 3:6 KJV) Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. Then there was Gideon in Judges 6:22-23. (Judg 6:22-23 KJV) And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face. {23} And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die. The disciples had the same fears until they had understanding of the situation and that God was in control of it.

Mark 6:50 (KJB)
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.

Jesus knew that the disciples were fearing for their lives and now they probably believed that they were going to be attacked by some spirit. Jesus immediately confirms to them that it was really Him. They were probably very tired from the long day of feeding the multitudes and couple that with a situation which could increase anxiety and they had a natural human reaction. Then Jesus tells them to be of good cheer. The key to surviving any dire situation is to know that the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Neh 8:10 KJV) Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. The joy of the Lord allows you to remain calm and deal with the situation at hand in a biblically rational manner. In the Greek, the words “It is I” is “egô eimi” which translates “I am.” (Exo 3:14 KJV) And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. Here Jesus is telling them that He is the Great I AM. Another reference to the fact that He is God. Then Jesus tells them not to fear because He will have this situation well in hand.