Christ Prays and Is Present

Bob RoaneJesus Christ, Loving and Trusting God

You have received the Holy Spirit, and He lives within you….For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what the Spirit teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as He has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ. (1 John 2:27 NLT)

This post is based on Mark 4:35-41 and builds on Immanuel: Ruler of the Waves; Jesus Get Us; Do You Still Have No Faith?; Different Kinds of Storms

Houdini and Christ

Erik Weisz (1874–1926) was a Hungarian-American escape artist, illusionist, and stunt performer. We know him better by his stage name: Harry Houdini. He could break out of handcuffs, prison cells, straitjackets, boxes, and every kind of restraint. One time he slipped out of a “Water Torture Cell,” while submerged upside down. Houdini was so popular because people liked the idea of escape. They wanted to flee their troubles, problems, and griefs. His audience felt like they were drowning in cares and concerns, so they delighted to watch a man who always got away.1

The truth is, beloved, we can’t avoid all adversity. Scripture says: “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”2 We can’t get away from all strains and struggles, but the Lord will bring us safely through the storms, as we follow Christ.

Jesus truly performed this unique Mark 4 miracle in history. It was a severe weather disturbance, that newscasters could report on. We may never be in a boating calamity like this and Christ is no longer physically present with us on earth. But let’s remember how He still cares for us when life’s distresses come.

When Storms Come Christ Prays for Our Protection

In Mark chapter 6, the disciples face a similar storm. Jesus tells them to get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side. Then Christ goes to the mountain to pray. Like Moses prayed for the Hebrews as they battled their enemies.

At evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea and the Savior was alone on land. He could see them straining as they rowed the oars, the wind blowing hard against them. I love it! Christ sees them striving and He is praying! Scripture doesn’t say that Jesus was praying in Mark 4. But before the same storm, recorded in Matthew 8, the Lord taught on prayer. And before and after the same storm, recorded in Luke 8, Christ was praying. Jesus was and still is always praying and He teaches us to do the same.

We are reminded that if the Lord places us in hard circumstances, He remembers exactly where He puts us. He notices us struggling and now He pleads for us constantly from His throne in heaven. Maybe no mortal can fully understand our sadness, trouble, and burden. But Jesus sees and knows what we’re going through. We are never alone and never forgotten by Christ. His eye is on the sparrow and He watches and cares for you and me.

Great Quotes

Louis Berkhoff said: Christ is praying for us, even when we are careless in our prayer life. He even brings to God the Father our needs that we are not aware of and those we fail to pray for. He prays for our protection against dangers we are not even conscious of, and against unknown enemies which threaten us. Jesus prays that our faith may not fail, and that we come out victoriously in the end.3

Robert Murray M’Cheyne said: “I ought to study Christ as an Intercessor. He prayed most for Peter, who was to be most tempted. I am on Jesus’ breastplate. If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. Jesus is praying for me now.”4

It’s even better for us now, after Christ’s resurrection and ascension. Hebrews 7:25 says: “Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.” That’s the only reason we were not destroyed by something yesterday, beloved. It’s not because we were smart or good, but because Jesus was praying. Great is His faithfulness!

When Storms Come, Jesus Is Present with Us

In John 16:7, Christ said, “Very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going back to heaven. Unless I go away, the Advocate (the Holy Spirit) will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you.” The idea of Jesus leaving made the first disciples fearful and sad. They were blessed by being with Christ for three precious years of training. He was a tangible, physical, flesh and blood person, the one and only God-man. They could depend on Him constantly to guide and rescue them, and to answer questions. How will they manage if He is not physically present?

The Lord says in Jeremiah 31:33-34: This is the new covenant I will make with my people after those days. I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Every one of my believers, from the least to the greatest, will know me, says the Lord. And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.

Christ’s physical presence on earth in some ways limited how many people He could influence at once. He could only be in one place at a time. But the Holy Spirit Jesus sent is not limited. He enables every single Christian all around the world to have constant, personal, indwelling contact with God. Jesus said, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”5

  • Every Christian will be a temple of the Holy Spirit
  • And be taught and led by Jesus
  • And turn away from selfishness and live to please God
  • And be freed from living in fear
  • And be adopted as God’s sons and daughters so that we call Him Abba, Father.6

It was great in Mark 4, when the Lord was physically present with them in the boat. And in Mark 6, when He walked across the water to rescue them from danger. But Jesus says that His believers have it better now! If our heart is broken, we’ll find God right there. If we’re kicked in the gut, He’ll help us catch our breath. Disciples so often get into trouble. Still, God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is there every time.7

Troubles Can Bring us Closer to God

It’s no secret that we seek the Lord more in painful times than prosperous ones. There is usually more praying at hospitals, than at weddings; at funeral services, than baptisms. Sometimes we pretend we are doing fine on our own without God. We act like we can fix our lives without Him. We act independently, until Christ sends a storm, and leaves it here a while. Then we see that our resources and skills are inadequate. God sometimes puts us on our backs to get us to look up to Him for relief.

Christ says: Call on me in the day of trouble. I will deliver you, and you will honor me. (Psalm 50:15)

To be continued

Notes (various Bible translations): 1 American Experience (PBS), 2000.     2 Acts 14:22.     3 Adapted from Systematic Theology p. 403.     4 Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray McCheyne, p. 179.     5 John 14:23.   6 Ezek 36:27; John 16:13; 1 Cor 3:16, 6:19; Rom 8:9,15; 2 Cor 6:16; Gal 4:6, 5:18,22; Eph 5:18.     7 Psalm 34:18-19 MSG.