Friday, 9 February 2024
St Mark 6: 45 – 52
Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray. When evening came, the boat was out on the lake, and he was alone on the land. When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the lake. He intended to pass them by. 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.’ Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
Jesus’ walking on the water is perhaps the most challenging of his miracles to understand and many wonder about it. If taken literally it is outside our experience and so is explained away as Jesus walking in the shallows of the lake or on a rocky shelf just below the water line.
Reading it this way though, takes something away from the story. What matters is what this miracle teaches us about Jesus. In the first century water was connected with chaos and where evil resided. Sea monsters waited for creep unsuspecting prey. To travel out on the lake at night was to take risks and to trust in God. That’s what the disciples are doing and why they are terrified. That’s why they cry out in fear mistaking Jesus for a ghost. Fears are allayed only when Jesus reassures them.
This story takes us back to the very beginning of creation when God brings order out of chaos. The writer of Mark’s gospel is reminding us of who Jesus is, where he’s come from, and where he is leading. Through Jesus light breaks into the darkness and chaos of our world bringing order and new life.
Sometimes life can feel as if we are out of control and that no matter how hard we try to get a handle on things it feels as if we will sink beneath the waves of chaos. In such moments it is good to be reminded that God is in control, that God’s Spirit hovers over the waters and the darkness of the deep of our lives, and through Jesus brings order, hope and comfort.
No matter how hard it is to understand, we can trust and have faith that God will lead us through the messiness of our lives to the new creation he promises to us.
in the messiness and brokenness of our lives,
we thank you that you bring order, hope and comfort.
We thank you that although we don’t always understand,
we can respond to your call to trust in your plans and purposes for us.
We commit our worries and concerns into your hands;
help us to take heart and recognise you
walking alongside us as we face today with hope and confidence.