Wednesday 03 February 2016

Bible Book:

“But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said; ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”’ (v. 50)

Mark 6:45-52 Wednesday 3 February 2016

Psalm: Psalm 27


This passage follows on from Jesus feedingthe 5,000 (which we looked at on Monday) and tells the story of one of his most challengingmiracles, at least to 21st-century eyes, namely walking on thewaves and calming the storm. It begins with Jesus dismissing thecrowds (verse 45) and telling his disciples to sail over to theother side of the lake while he goes alone up to the mountain topray.

Then, early in the morning, Jesus observedhis disciples in the boat struggling against the wind, and he cameto them walking apparently on the sea and intending to "pass themby" (v. 48) at which the disciples mistook him for a ghost and wereeven more terrified (verses 49-50). However, Jesus spoke to them,telling them to take heart and not be afraid, and got into the boatwith them - 'and immediately', a phrase which occurs often inMark's Gospel, "the wind ceased" (v. 51).

At this point we're told that the discipleswere "utterly astounded" (v. 51), as they didn't understand whathad happened with the loaves and fishes for their hearts were"hardened" (v. 52). Perhaps we may have some sympathy with them,for it's equally hard for us to take in all that's happened. It's achallenge also to understand why the disciples, at least four ofwhom appear to have been fishermen experienced with conditions onGalilee, seem to have been so panicked by a squall on the lake.

However, the way the story is told suggeststhat this is not simply a story about a storm at sea; rather it'smore about how ill equipped the disciples were to face a storm onthe sea of faith when Jesus was not with them. It's noticeable howthe wind died down immediately Jesus was in the boat with them.It's also noticeable how Jesus' word's "Take heart, it is I"resonate with those great 'I am' sayings in John's Gospel, andindeed with the name of God revealed to Moses in the Old Testament(Exodus 3:14). It's as if this whole story issaying, both to the disciples in the boat and to all those who haveread or heard this passage ever since, that if you want to be readyto face the winds and waves, you need first to recognise who Jesusis and how he can be, as the hymn puts it, "our anchor in the storms oflife".

To Ponder

  • Have there ever been a time when you felt your faith was aboutto be overwhelmed? Who or what was it that helped to anchor andbring you through?
  • How might this story help you towards a different understandingof the miracles of Jesus?
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