Wednesday 09 January 2013

Bible Book:

"But when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, 'Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.'" (vv. 49-50)

Mark 6:45-52 Wednesday 9 January 2013


What is the point of this miracle? In the previous story the purpose of Jesus'miracle was clearly provide food for people, but here the disciplesare in no danger and, in any case, Jesus intended to pass them by(verse 48), so the miracle seems useless.  We seem to be inthe same position as the disciples - astounded! (verse 51)

Mark's Gospel says that the disciples did not understand becausethey did not understand about the loaves (verse 52) and so the keyto this passage is in the previous story. Jesus provided the peoplewith bread in the wilderness, just as God provided manna in thewilderness for Moses and the Israelites (Exodus16). Now Jesus walks on the waves, just as God made his pathacross the sea and, as a shepherd, led Moses and the Israelitesacross it (Psalm 77:16-20).

This miracle, then, is an epiphany, a revelation to thedisciples and to the readers of Mark's Gospel, of who Jesus is: notonly the successor of Moses, but is greater than Moses. For Mosesmediated God's provision of manna and parting of the waters. Jesushimself does these things directly. This reveals the nature ofJesus as God incarnate. This is reflected in Jesus' statement inverse 50: "It is I" which could also be read, "I am", which is thedivine name in the Old Testament (Exodus3:14). And it is the nature of God to rescue God's people.

The disciples are shaken ('tarasso' in the Greek) by therevelation of the fullness of God in Christ. That does not seemunreasonable. Moses had to hide his face when meeting with God (Exodus3:6), for if he saw God, he would die. An encounter with theglory of the living God can never be entirely safe for fragilehuman beings. Indeed, it is only in our shaken-ness that we cantruly acknowledge the glory of the God who saves God's shakenpeople.

To Ponder

  • Have you ever been shaken by an encounter with God? What did itfeel like?
  • What things about God puzzle you? What do you do with yourbafflement?
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