Lent 2021, Day 9: Walk on by.

B. J. O. Nordfeldt, Christ Walking on Water, 1951, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Arvin Gottlieb, 1991.205.14

Mark 6 is a long, busy chapter. Jesus gets dissed for being “the carpenter’s son” by people in a synagogue, he and the 12 disciples go out healing the sick and casting out demons, his cousin John loses his head and it gets served up on a platter (!), and he feeds 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread and fish. And the chapter still has eleven more verses. Whew. It’s that last section we’ll be looking at here:

Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home. After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.

Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them, but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. They were all terrified when they saw him.

Wait, wait, wait, lol. That verse says Jesus “INTENDED TO GO PAST” the struggling, scared disciples. Jesus got up from prayer, sees his followers being pushed to and fro on a boat, walks ON WATER TOWARDS them, with the intention to just keep on strolling? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Talk about “Jesus Walks“. The thought of this tickles me to no end, Ya’ll. It reminds me of how my Mommy use to sing the Dionne Warwick classic, “Walk On By.”

Just picture the struggling 12 and Jesus out on those stormy waters with Ms. Dionne just crooning away, “And walk on byyyyy…”. Hehehehe.

Seriously, though, Jesus, being Jesus, does not walk on by, and instead, helps his crying Dozen:

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.

Jesus was there. They called out, in the midst of that storm, and He showed up. Then they screamed because they thought He was a ghost, but He spoke to them, and calmed them and their fears and the storm.

Strikingly, despite all the healings, and the preaching, and the feeding, the disciples were shook because they still really didn’t get it. I like the commentary in Gill’s Exposition on this:

For their heart was hardened; or “blinded”; not by sin, or against Christ, much less in a judicial way: but there was a great deal of dulness and stupidity, and want of attention in them. The glory of Christ, which he manifested, and showed forth in his miracles, was not so clearly and fully discerned, attended to, and acknowledged by them, at it might reasonably be thought it would; for notwithstanding these miracles, which they daily saw, they stood in need of divine illuminations, that the darkness of their minds being removed, they might behold the glory of Christ, as the glory of the only begotten of the Father.

Dull and stupid and totally human, they were, as we all can be.

  • Read the rest of Mark 6. Why do you think that right after the Miracle of Jesus Walking on Water, the chapter ends with the events at Gennesaret?
  • Why do you think Jesus “intended to go past them”?

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