For Ministry Resources Youth Series : Miracles From the Gospel of Mark

MIRACLES 04/04: JESUS WALKS ON WATER

MIRACLES 04/04

Yet again, the disciples find themselves in a storm. This time, Jesus is not in the boat. Rather, he walks on water to join them in the middle of a mini-hurricane. Interestingly, Jesus didn't calm the storm immediately in this story like the disciples had seen Him do in the past. In this circumstance, Jesus let the storm rage while drawing closer to the disciples. Jesus walking on water us three life lessons about the storms in our lives.



Large Group

Large Group Instructions

Overview
Materials:
Leader
  • Illustration (Tell a story of a really bad storm you experienced. Example follows)

Have you ever been in a really bad storm? Whether it’s a hurricane, tornado, or blizzard, extreme weather is stressful.

Recently I was driving home while the sky began to grow darker and darker with every mile marker. Suddenly, I saw a massive grey wall of water approaching.

Once I crossed that line, it was like being transported into another world. Winds were whirling at 60 mph, hail was crashing onto my windshield, rain prevented me from seeing four feet in front of my car, and I felt like I had absolutely no control.

I pulled off the highway and went into a random country restaurant to wait out the weather. I wasn’t where I wanted to be, but at least I was safe. The storm blew me off my course and I ended up getting home almost 2 hours later than I originally planned.

  • Setting Up The Talk

Have you ever had a storm shove you off course?

  • You didn't dream of experiencing emotional pain.

  • You didn't plan on your parents getting a divorce.

  • You didn't imagine you'd suddenly be single, trying to heal after heartbreak.

It's difficult to be blown off course by storms because it reminds us that life is out of our control.

We talk a lot about thriving in life, but sometimes just surviving the storm is our only goal.

  • I feel you because I have been there too.

We had clear-cut plans, dreams, and goals, but now we are struggling just to keep our heads above water.

You're not even concerned with success anymore; you just want to survive.

Fortunately, Mark shares a story that proves that miracles are not just possible; they're actually all around us. We need to open our eyes so we don't miss the miracles.

  • At this point in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus was seeking some peace and quiet — again.

    • There was a rhythm to His rest.

    • Jesus would go away to get some quiet time, and then something would come up that required His attention.

      • After feeding over five thousand hungry people with supernatural Fillet-o-Fish sandwiches, He was ready to head up to the mountainside to reflect, rest, and reset.

      • Jesus encouraged His disciples to get in another boat to make a short sail to Bethesda, the next stop on their journey.

Materials:
Leader

READ: Mark 6:45-51

"Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed."

Materials:
Leader

In a familiar scene for Jesus' followers, a storm swept across the sea.

  • Their boat bobbed up and down like a buoy.

  • Winds went against their sails.

  • Waves rammed into their walls.

  • The current began pulling them away— rendering them out of control.

The next thing they knew, they were off course in the middle of a sudden storm.

  • Strive to feel the desperate fear of the disciples as their boat began to take on water.

  • What were they going to do with Jesus nowhere in sight?

Light breaks through this dark scene when Jesus comes walking on water towards the disciples.

  • There is no bridge, ramp, or life raft. Jesus was walking atop the crashing waves like they were firm stones.

  • Tragically, they almost miss it.

    • Interestingly, Jesus didn't calm the storm immediately in this story like the disciples had seen Him do in the past.

    • In this circumstance, Jesus let the storm rage while drawing closer to the disciples.

    • Jesus walking on water shows us three life lessons about the storms in our lives.

Materials:
Leader

Jesus Sees Your Storm

With walls of water crashing over His body and wind pushing Him like a linebacker, Jesus walked on water towards the disciples.

The passage doesn't say He shouted advice from the shore, nor does it say that Jesus stopped the storm.

He saw that they were struggling, so He stepped in.

  • He didn't just help them during the storm; He joined them in the storm.

  • He treated the terrifying waves like stepping stones moving towards His friends.

Whenever your problems feel like storms throwing you off course, know that Jesus is moving towards you.

  • What are the waves in your life right now?

    • Maybe they're heartbreak, loss, despair, helplessness, stress, or loneliness.

    • When waves are crashing over your head, remember that they're under His feet.

    • Jesus may not stop the storm. However, He promises to be with you in the storm— and the waves don't phase Him.

      • So, we need to be sure to pay close attention, which brings us to our next point.

Don't Let Storms Distract You

Strong storms are captivating to watch from our windows but terrifying to experience outside.

  • There is something soothing about being in a shelter.

  • I cannot imagine anything more disorienting than encountering that kind of turbulence on a little boat.

    • That's what unexpected problems do, though. They make us feel disoriented.

      • When the thunder was booming and the rain was blinding, the disciples almost missed Jesus walking towards them (6:45).

      • They were so focused on their fear that they almost missed the miracle right in front of their eyes.

DON'T MISS THE MIRACLE. Don't let distractions dominate you because you might miss what God is doing.

  • When you position your focus on your problems, you will feel hopeless and helpless.

  • However, when you proactively choose to look past your problems, you will begin to see Jesus more clearly.

  • He's right there with you.

    • Even when your eyes aren't on Jesus, His eyes are always on you.

    • There is hope in His presence, but there is also so much hope in his protection.

    • In closing:

Your Storm Won't Destroy You

  • As we have seen, Jesus can easily calm storms. He did it once for the disciples already.

    • Why did he not immediately calm this storm like he had done in the past?

      • He was certainly able, but it's possible that Jesus wanted to teach his disciples a bigger lesson.

      • He didn't want to remove the storm; He wanted to teach them how to survive the storm.

      • How do we do that?

        • We survive storms with the supernatural support of Jesus.

        • With Jesus on your side, your storm won't sink you.

        • It'll actually strengthen you.

          • This isn't to say the pain you're encountering isn't important. It's actually the opposite.

          • Sometimes sadness feels like a severe storm.

          • Sometimes tragedy feels like a tidal wave.

          • Sometimes hurt can feel like a hurricane.

          • Please hear me. Your pain is important and it matters to God.

We are encouraging you to shift your focus because you can't fight these feelings on your own.

  • You need supernatural intervention—you need Jesus.

  • He's miraculously walking on water through your storm and into your arms.

  • Stick it out and take courage; Jesus is near.

    • If you're in the storm of sadness, Jesus is near.

    • If you're in a storm of stress, Jesus is walking towards you.

    • If you're in a storm of uncertainty, Jesus wants to give you clarity.

    • He may not remove the storm immediately, but you will get through it.

      • Here's the cool thing. With Jesus, you will be stronger on the other side of the storm.

      • Hold on. Look towards Jesus. Worship while you weather the storm.

      • You won't just survive; you'll thrive.

  • Landing

Mark elaborates on Christ's supernatural power. But it goes so much deeper than that. Don’t forget one of Mark’s overarching themes that we have seen in passage after passage in our journey together. Jesus is both powerful and personal.

He has the power to calm storms, but He can also calm souls.

He can heal physical pains, but he can also heal your spiritual sickness.

Jesus can feed thousands with a few pieces of fish, but he can also supernaturally provide for you.

  • It would be a shame if we failed to see the deeply personal message within the powerful pages of Mark.

  • If Jesus can calm a storm, heal a paralyzed man, feed a small army, and walk on a stormy sea, then imagine what He can do in your life.



Small Group

Small Group Instructions

Small Group Discussion
Materials:
Small Group Leader
  • Go through the following questions with your circle. Be honest. Be open. Talk through the tough stuff.

    Icebreaker: Introduce yourself and share your highs and lows from the week (the best part of your week and the lowest part of your week).

Q1: Summarize this miracle of Jesus walking on water. How could this be a metaphor for struggles in life?

Q2: How do you typically respond to life’s storms?

Q3: Jesus didn’t immediately calm this storm. Why do you think that is important for us to understand?

Q4: What distractions keep you from looking to Jesus when you’re going through challenging times?

Q5: How could drawing near to Jesus during tough times change the way you respond to everything life’s throwing at you?

Application: What’s one thing you can do to shift your focus off your problems and onto Jesus?

Materials:
Student
  • This reading plan includes:

    John 4:46-54 John 5:1-15 John 9:1-12 John 11:1-15 John 15:38-44 Psalm 105 Psalm 11:2-4

    Do the following with each passage:

    ASK– God to connect with you here. In prayer, start by slowing down and inviting God to be present. Begin with focus and openness to see what God has for you today.

    READ– the selected section of Scripture slowly. Take note of the words and phrases that intrigue you, reading them a second time if necessary.

    REFLECT– on what grabs you. How does this passage personally relate to your own life and experiences?

    RESPOND– to the Scripture. Speak directly to God about what’s on your mind and heart. Look for ways to live out what you’ve uncovered.

About For Ministry Resources Youth Series

FMR develops a monthly youth ministry curriculum that is free to all local churches. Each monthly release includes a sermon series, small group series, Bible devotional, and supporting graphics packs that are original, practical, and ready to use.