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God’s Word for You

Mark 4:35-36 In the same boat

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, May 14, 2022

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.

If we compare verse 35 with Matthew’s account (Matthew 8:18-22) we see that this did not happen right away after Jesus was done preaching to the crowds and to his disciples with parables. A few other things happened that day. A Roman Centurion came to ask that his servant be healed (Matthew 8:5-13), and there were other healings. A Scribe came to try to become Jesus’ followers, and another man, already a disciple, asked permission to go bury his dead father (Matthew 8:18-22). Matthew and Mark agree that Jesus crossed the lake later on when evening came.

The remarkable statement in these two verses is that Jesus went “just as he was.” We take this to mean two important things. Jesus went “just as he was,” that is, without making any special preparations. Jesus did not give any thought to how long they would be in the boat or what they would find on the other side. He did it to show the true meaning of trust. This is not that we should never make any plans—such a conclusion would contradict many other passages of the Bible (Proverbs 12:5; Isaiah 32:8; Matthew 26:12, 14:2).  No: Jesus was teaching his disciples to trust in him completely.

Secondly, Jesus went “just as he was,” meaning that he was clearly tired, even exhausted, from his many healings, his other efforts, and his long stretch of public preaching and private teaching on this day. Teaching is always physically tiring for me, and I take comfort from passages like this one that show that physical strain affected the Lord in the same way.

“Just as he was,” he was with his followers, who were also his friends, in their boat. And just as he is today, he is with us all, in our boat. This is his solemn promise from his Ascension, to be with us always (Matthew 28:20). Whatever struggle or fight you have today, he is with you. You might be worried about disease or death, a suffering child or a suffering parent. You may have had a trauma in battle or war, or you may have suffered abuse or rape, or rejection, or an accident may have wounded you. Your Lord knows this. He does not plan or plot evil for your life; such things come because the devil is cruel and hates you and hates your faith most of all. He wants to crush and pulverize your faith into dust that the wind can blow away, but he himself can be frightened by the rustling of a single leaf on the ground, just as those who desert God are terrified in the same way (Leviticus 26:36). In the middle of our troubles, right in the same boat with us, there is Jesus. Even if the devil kills our bodies, Jesus is with us in the grave, and he will break the grave open “when he comes to wake us with joy.” “So do not fear,” the Lord said through Isaiah. “For I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). And again: “I have made you and I will carry you, I will sustain you and I will rescue you” (Isaiah 46:4). We turn to him for strength just as we turn to him for consolation. Our sins afflict us and we trust in him because he forgives us. He will also give us strength and courage to endure the devil’s attacks on our bodies, for our spirits rest secure in Jesus.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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