A Time Without Jesus? | Mark 6:45–47
45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.
Back in v. 35–36, the disciples note the late hour and suggest sending the crowd away. What followed was a sight of miraculous provision as thousands of people fed from the hand of Christ. It is only now, after the people of the crowd received what they needed, that Jesus sends them away. What’s strange is that Jesus sends the disciples away as well, for He is about to test their faith once again.
Jesus have the disciples leave without Him. That fact would probably be difficult on its own. Add to that fact that Jesus is left to dismiss the thousands alone. Perhaps He’s again demonstrating that He didn’t come to build crowds, and it would not serve Him well for the people to sway His disciples into forcing Him to be their king. He also asks them to do what may appear foolish, for Jesus would have no apparent means of travel from the wilderness and would be committing to a several-mile hike around the Sea of Galilee. None of it made sense from a human perspective. Yet, it’s important that we obey the Lord in those moments.
Jesus prays without them. There are times when Jesus would pray with His disciples, and God calls us to pray everywhere (1 Tm 2:8). Still, Jesus uses this time alone on the mountain top for personal prayer. Calvin here notes that He may have known they were about to face the tempest and prays for their faith.
We live awaiting the Second Coming. We don’t see our Lord right now as we labor and face the storms of life. Yet, we, like the disciples, have our marching orders. Unlike how the disciples may have felt, though, believers are never truly without Jesus. We know that “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 Jn 2:1). He is ever-pleading our case before God, and we serve the One Who said, ““I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hb 13:5).