The Fourth Watch.

Mark 6:45-51
 45 “Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. 46 And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. 
47 Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. 48 Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. 49 And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I (literally “I AM”); do not be afraid.”

51 Then He went up into the boat to them, and THE WIND CEASED. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled.”

(Jesus walking on the water at the fourth watch)
The fourth watch is the part of the night, just before dawn.  It is always darkest then. Imagine being in total darkness, fighting for your life in the middle of a raging storm when, suddenly, someone is coming toward you WALKING ON THE WATER! 😮  Frightened?  You betcha!  They were scared out of their wits!! 🤯
In order to put this story in its proper context, we’re going to have to study the events leading up to it. I’m sure you noticed the phrases in bold letters in the opening scripture.  During the course of this article, we will discuss what they mean, how they figure into the story, and what they tell us, incredibly, about 21st century.  There’s a whole LOT of meat in this short little passage so buckle your seat belts Church. We have a lot to unpack!
The Backdrop.
This event took place sometime after the beheading of John the Baptist, who had been thrown in prison by King Herod.  The fact that the king imprisoned him was kind of incredible, actually.  Even though the Herod feared and reverenced John, believing him to be a true prophet of God, he went ahead and had him executed anyway, in deference to his wife.
John the Baptist beheaded in prison
You see, the king had married Herodius, his brother Phillip’s wife.  John had dared to tell him that it was not lawful for him to marry her, so she had it in for him…..BIG TIME.  When the first opportunity presented itself, she went for it and asked for his head on a platter: Literally! 😮 She got it. 😔
Upon hearing of his death, Jesus and His disciples retired to a quiet place to rest for a while.  They had been so busy, they hadn’t even had time to eat. They tried to get to a quiet place but the multitudes saw Him leaving and arrived before they got there.
(Jesus feeds the 5,000)
Instead of thinking of Himself, though, our dear, sweet Jesus saw the tired, hungry crowds of people and had compassion on them.  What did He do next? Fed this massive multitude, which numbered about 5,000 men. What a God!!!  There was, of course, far north of that number as only the men were numbered. Women and children were also present.  Our story begins immediately afterward.
Now that we’ve reviewed the background, let’s look at the timing of the fourth watch and see how it fits in to our story…..
Pictures Of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is drawing beautiful pictures of Jesus for us here and giving us a glimpse of the future.  If He went to the trouble of including this account in the Bible, it’s because there is something very important in these passages for us to study understand and He wants to bless us. Let’s take it apart piece by piece and see what it tells us about the end of the age, like our times.
(Jesus sends disciples ahead without Him.)
Wrong Way.
Mark 6:45-48
“Immediately He (Jesus) made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He SENT THE MULTITUDE AWAY. And when He had sent them away, He (alone) departed to the mountain to pray. 
Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them.”
In John’s gospel it says that the disciples were headed toward CAPERNAUM, but Jesus, as you can see, had instructed them them to go to BETHSAIDA.  They didn’t do what He told them to do.  They went the wrong way.
Kinda strange, don’t you think?  Why were they going somewhere other than where they were sent?  The answer to that question is found in the meanings of the names of these two cities.
Secrets In The Hebrew Language.
John 6:16  “Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing.
“Bethsaida,” means “house of fishers.”  Remember one of the first things Jesus said to Peter and his coworkers?  “I will make you fishers of men.”  Bethsaida is a picture of  missions.  Capernaum, on the other hand, means “The place of comfort.”  Sounds about right, doesn’t it? 
What do humans naturally want to do?  We tend to gravitate toward the place of comfort instead of going where Jesus is directing us and doing what He is telling us to do. It takes the Holy Spirit guiding us from within to do the right thing.

(Map of Jesus’ Galilean Ministry.)

Jesus Tarried.
It also says “He MADE THEM GET INTO THE BOAT” and go on ahead of Him without Him.”  Here they are without Jesus in the middle of a raging sea, struggling and rowing with all their might in a losing battle… total darkness…..against this fierce storm.  Pretty desperate situation, ESPECIALLY without Jesus on board!
As if that weren’t bad enough, Jesus tarried.  He didn’t come to them immediately, even though their troubles began in the evening, about the first or second watch.  He stayed where He was, watching from the shore.  
Meanwhile, they were struggling and straining against the wind and waves until they almost couldn’t struggle any more.  Yet still, Jesus waited to come to them until the fourth watch.
Hmmm…..Very strange. Why did He wait?  🤔 
Jesus Walked On The Sea.
“Then He {Jesus} saw them straining at rowing, FOR THE WIND WAS AGAINST THEM. “Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.”

Confused Emoji

Wait, what??!!  They’re in deep trouble and He would have passed them by?  Huh?  Why?  Well, that’s what it says.  What’s going on here?

According to the account in John 6, “…when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. But He said to them, “It is I (literally, “I AM);  do not be afraid.”

Three or four miles out would put them right about the middle of the sea.  (See map above).  Let’s continue with Mark’s account:
Mark 6:48-52
“And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled.  But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; (Literally, “I AM”) do not be afraid.”  Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased.  And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. For they had not understood about the loaves, because their HEART WAS HARDENED.”

Notice, NOT ONCE during the entire storm did they call out to Jesus for help.  He, however, saw their predicament BECAUSE HE NEVER TOOK HIS EYES OFF THEM; He saw their struggles and walked toward them unbidden.   It almost seems that if they hadn’t recognized Him, HE WOULD HAVE PASSED BY THE BOAT.  Why?? 😟

(Jesus calms the storm)
Jesus Is A Gentleman.
The answer to that question is found in what caused Him to get INTO the boat in the first place.  The account in John below is a bit more enlightening.
 John 6:19-21
 19 “when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. 20 But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21 THEN THEY WILLINGLY RECEIVED HIM INTO THE BOAT, AND IMMEDIATELY THE BOAT WAS AT THE LAND WHERE THEY WERE GOING.” 
It almost sounds like they weren’t going to invite Him in, doesn’t it?  Well, at first it was because they thought it was a ghost.  Jesus is a Gentleman, you se, and will only come in where He is invited. But as soon as He spoke to them and told them not to be afraid, they recognized Him, and their fears subsided.  THEN “they willingly received Him into the boat…..and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.”
(For more on that topic, you may refer to the link below:
BAM! A MIRACLE!  They were instantly transported to their destination from the middle of the sea!  No more wind, no more waves, no more fear, no more of their striving or straining (self-righteousness).  Only peace and safety.
Peace and safety had been absent while they were trying to go to the place of comfort:  Capernaum, by their own efforts, i.e. self-righteous works, striving and straining against the contrary winds.
They were so busy struggling and striving, they forgot they needed Jesus’ help.  That’s why He waited to come to them until about the fourth watch, which is somewhere between 3 & 6 am, even though they didn’t call for Him.
It’s just like when a person is drowning.  You can’t just jump right in and save them if they are still using their strength to try and save themselves.  You must wait until they have no more strength left and begin to sink.  Otherwise, the person will grab onto the rescuer and they’ll both drown.  
For the disciples in the boat, it was almost too late. They were ready to admit defeat. A little bit longer and the boat would have gone down. But Jesus is always right on time. Help comes just in the nick of time. When you work, GOD RESTS.  When you rest, GOD WORKS!
The “boat” in this story typifies the church, but what is this wind?  It’s described in Ephesians 4:14
 14 “…we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with EVERY WIND OF DOCTRINE, by the TRICKERY OF MEN, in the CUNNING CRAFTINESS OF DECEITFUL PLOTTING…”
Sounds like our times, right?  Doesn’t it seem like there are great, almost insurmountable “winds” coming against the church and against Israel in these last days as if to swamp and capsize the “boat?” It’s a depiction of the many “Winds of doctrines,” flying around today.  
Even among fellow precious believers you see opposing beliefs and opinions, doctrines, and all kinds of nonsense going all around in a curios kind of infighting. One believes this, someone else believes that, angry darts are flying back and forth between the “children.”  Just take a look around you on Social Media.  Oh, yeah:  It can be VERY “windy” out there.
The verse mentions another reason for the “WINDS:”   The trickery of men in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.”  Who uses men to try and trick us with cunning craftiness and deceitful plotting?  Yep:  the devil. He’s still trying to pervert the Gospel so that men will go to hell and punish God for righteously punishing him in the garden.
The reason for the wind is our focus is on “doctrines.”  All we need to do is turn around and point TO Jesus instead of AT each other.  Remember, they will know us by our LOVE, not our doctrine.
seated around the throne
The Holy Of Holies.
For those who reside in the Holy of Holies, meaning they are resting in the finished work of Jesus, it’s a completely different story.  Their “sea” is crystal. It is peaceful and calm.  No wind. They are at rest, seated around the throne of God, simply beholding Jesus.  (See Revelation 4:6).
(For more on these typologies, you may refer to the article below:
Outside the Church it’s a bit more blatant, easier to see the “wind.”  There are many evil doctrines, things happening in many different places, and greater opposition to Christians and the gospel than ever before. It’s getting worse by the day.
The latest “wind” is coming from the tech tyrants of social media trying to silence any opposing views, especially if it sounds like godliness. The wind is getting almost to a fever pitch! Combine the fighting from within and the fighting without and you have a church striving and straining to row against the wind and waves, struggling by her own efforts to stay afloat.
Israel returns from Babylon
Return From Babylon.
But thanks be to God!  Just like the Israelites who returned from their captivity in Babylon, in this present day we are beginning to see the church come out of her own Babylon.  In other words, out of “Confusion.”   (That’s what “Babylon” means).
She is recognizing her Savior walking toward her on TOP of the waters, above the storm.  No, He’s not a ghost.  No, He’s not too good to be true. He really is that good! He really does love you that much! Your sins of your ENTIRE LIFE really are forgiven!
“How can that be,” you ask? Because God doesn’t live in your time zone.  He has no time zone!  For Him, there is only “NOW; Present Tense.”  There is no past or future with God.  So when He says, “All your sins are put away,” all means, “ALL.”
(For more on that story, you may refer to the link below:
The Church at large is slowly beginning to recognize her Savior for Who He REALLY is.  Many are inviting Him back into the “boat,” realizing they have been striving against the wind by their own efforts.  Soon, very soon, she will be instantly transported to her ultimate and forever destination (raptured) and be safe in His company…..FOREVER!
Though it’s still very “windy” out there, this is beginning to happen, just like in this story says!

The Fourth Watch.
What is the significance of the Fourth Watch?  What is the Holy Spirit trying to show us?  It’s a timeline of events in the 21st century!

John the Baptist was the final Old Testament prophet.  He typifies “the Law.”  His preaching ushered in the age of Grace brought to us IN PERSON by our Lord Jesus Himself.  The law was quite literally “beheaded!”  Jesus paid the price for the New Covenant with His life.
2,000 years ago, He physically walked with His people here on earth, performing countless miracles of healing and provision.  That’s right, folks:  Health and Wealth.  But then He was rejected by his people, as typified by Him sending the people away after the feeding of the 5,000.
Next, HE MADE HIS DISCIPLES get into the boat and go across the sea WITHOUT HIM, though He was watching intently from the shore.  He never took His eyes off them.
Jesus standing alone in a high place on the shore is a picture of Him after He ascended back to heaven.  The Church was sent on ahead without Him, depicted by the disciples in the boat, crossing the waters of the “sea” (the nations), out into the world to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth.
As time passed, the world became spiritually darker and darker.  During the darkest time of the night, the Fourth Watch, the Church in large part is floundering in the raging storm.  She has nearly lost her way, having been taken in by “another gospel,” one that focuses on her own righteousness by works instead of on Jesus and His finished work.
Behold I Stand At The Door And Knock.
Jesus is pictured as outside much of His own Church.  Even now, He is knocking on the door asking to be allowed back in.  The evidence of that is this:  Most sermons you hear today hardly even mention His Name except in some harsh, judgmental way.  Nevertheless He is knocking.  Gentleman that He is, He wants to be allowed back into His Church once again.
(For more on this topic, you may follow the link below:
(“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”)
Jesus To The Rescue!

The “Boat,” i.e. the Church, was nearly swamped, but Jesus came to her rescue!  At first, the Church (the disciples) thought the real gospel was heresy, false doctrine:  A specter:  You know, a ghost.  Many said, “God isn’t really happy with His Church.  She must perform in order to be accepted by Him.  He is angry with her.  Why else would she be suffering so much at the hands of people of the world?  It’s God’s judgment!,” her pastors say.  Blah, blah, BLAH!

But she is now beginning to realize that He isn’t a ghost.  He’s the Savior; the REAL Jesus:  The genuine article.  As He is finally FULLY welcomed back into the “boat,” immediately the winds will cease, the storm will abate, she will awed and amazed, and be instantly transported to her destination:  RAPTURED!
Well, Church, this story is almost at it’s end.  The Church at large is beginning to invite Jesus back into the boat.  Thankfully, FINALLY, we are coming to the end of the Fourth Watch.

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