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Recognizing Jesus in “The Night”

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“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…” ~ Mark 6:49-50a

It seems strange to us, that the disciples would ever have been afraid of their own Master. They had been in great distress all through the night just because He was not with them.

There was nothing they had desired so much all through those long dark hours as that Jesus would come to them. Yet now, when He did come, they were in terror at the sight of Him. It was because they did not know that it was Jesus as His very unusual presence so affrighted them.

It is ofttimes just so with us. We are in some need or danger, and Jesus does not come to us. We call upon Him, and most earnestly desire His coming; yet He does not come.

At length [after what seems a long time] He comes, but often it is not as we had expected (i.e., in lovely visage and gentle deportment) but in the form of terror! It is in some great trial that He comes. Death enters our door and carries away a loved one. Or we experience some loss or some misfortune—at least it seems to us, loss or misfortune.

We cry out in terror! We do not know that it is Jesus, veiled in the dark robe, who has come! We do not know that this is the answer to our prayer for His presence and His help.

We are affrighted at the unusual form that moves over the waters in the dark night. We think it is new danger, when really it is the very divine love and divine help for which we have been longing and pleading!

We ought to learn that Jesus is in every providence that comes to us. He does not come in the sunshine only; quite as frequently it is in the dark night that He draws near.

It is our duty as Christians to train ourselves to see Christ in every event. Then, whether it is sorrow or joy which knocks at our door we shall give it loving welcome, knowing that Jesus Himself is veiled in whatever form it is, that He enters. Then we shall find, that when we welcome Him in the somber garments of affliction, He will always have a rich blessing for our lives!

by J. R. Miller (from “Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ” 1890)

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