walking on water

Mark 6 –

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.”

It is in our nature to believe that everything is about us.  The doctrine of justification is about how God declares sinners righteous for the sake of Christ and that is about us.  We sometimes forget that Christ came to reconcile all things to himself.  The whole created order will be recreated and be what God intended it to be.

As a sinful human being I am a bit put off that Jesus is praying on the mountain and he sees that the disciples are in distress and yet Mark says literally that Jesus wanted to pass them by.  Kind of offensive to my center of the universe sensibilities.  Here is a take on this from Timothy Tennant called “The God Who Passes Us By”.

“On either side of this passage Jesus is found feeding the 5,000 (6:30-42) and healing the sick at Gennesaret (6:53-56).  Yet, in the midst of these passages where God in Jesus Christ is healing us and meeting our needs, we catch a glimpse of the inner life of Jesus Christ apart from us.  We catch a glimpse into the mystery of God apart from us.  In the study of theology, this is known as the aseity of God.  It refers to God as He is in Himself, independent from us.  It was Job who declared, “He treads on the waves of the sea.”  Job, as much as any writer in the Old Testament, understood through his own trials and sufferings that God is unfolding purposes much bigger than us, and far grander than the limits of our imaginations.

The Jewish people identified the sea with the primordial chaos out of which the world was brought into order by the creative act of God.  The sea is a symbol of chaos.  This whole miracle is surrounded by the chaos of the Fall.   Before and after this passage we find people who are sick, ill and oppressed by demons.  Mark does not shy away from giving us a full glimpse into the horrible plight of the human race.  But Jesus is not consumed by these tragedies or by the enormity of the Fall.  He was about to pass by them because this miracle was not about them.  It was much grander than that.  Jesus was asserting His very reason for coming to earth at all.   He was asserting His divine prerogative over the weight of human sin, the Fall, and the chaos of our existence.  To walk on the water or, to use the words of Job, to “tread on the waves of the sea” is to demonstrate Jesus’ authority over the entire chaos of human existence.”

He meant to pass them by and in my center of the universe sensibility I think maybe it was so he could get ahead of them and lead them as a Shepherd “on quiet waters”.  Anyway Mark says he meant to pass them by.