Yay you made it to Friday!
Today’s scripture: MARK 6:47-51
47When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea. He intended to pass them by. 49But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; 50for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” 51Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded.
Ok, this picture of Jesus cracks me up. Here he is just taking a stroll on the water…powerwalking. No big deal. It pairs with this scripture for me in the absurdity of this story. The Gospel of Mark is a hurry and get the story done kind of gospel. They run from here to there and it seems as though Jesus and his crew are always running. The walking on water takes place right after the feeding of the 5000 for Mark and right before he runs off to heal people. Mark is in such a hurry to tell the story that he only takes four verses to tell this one. Compared to the gospel of Matthew were are just sailing through. Matthew has this scene but it takes 11 verses and has a whole conversation with Peter. In Mark it does feel as though he is just powerwalking along. Barely enough time to tell the disciples to not be afraid.
Why is it necessary to have this story anyway? Well, at this point in Jesus’ ministry it is important to highlight Jesus as someone who is doing things for God. Someone who has a direction connection. The gospel writers need to tell their communities about how awesome this guy is. He sticks out. He is more than just a teacher. He is the one. Does he actually walk on water? Is it true? There are many folks out there who are trying to prove different theories on if he actually walked on water…the science of it, it was super shallow right there, etc. But my question is…does it matter if it is factual if it gets our attention and means something?
And when we get into those kinds of details we forget something…it freaks the disciples out!!! They are afraid of seeing Jesus power walk towards them in a space they think can’t happen. And he tells them the most important part of it all….do not be afraid. When we get caught up in the other stuff, we feed into the fears that take over. The most important part of the message…and why Jesus gets in the boat instead of strolling on…is to not be afraid. Do not let fear win.
In our culture we forget that part. We are afraid of many many things. Our consumeristic culture depends on it, doesn’t it? If we are afraid about how we live, we might buy the magical thing to fix it all. Or if we are afraid, we will continue to isolate ourselves because vulnerability is a scary thing. We can be lone ranger is the myth when really it is all about how we connect to each other. Do not be afraid. Do not let fear win. Jesus is so not afraid that he can walk on water…and serve thousands of people…and get a whole crew to follow him…and in the end die for new life…and then come back to us over and over again. And he is our model, isn’t he? btw…I am not advocating for you to try the whole walking on water thing. But I AM asking you to think about what you are afraid of today and then realize that you aren’t alone.
What an activity for a Friday! See you tomorrow!