Bible Study Wednesday: The Gospel According to St Mark, Chapter 6

Today’s reading comes from Mark 6:47-56; it is about Jesus walking on the water.  But it is from Mark’s Gospel (which Tradition states St. Mark wrote down what St. Peter said/preached), so with St. Peter trying to be humble-we suppose-Mark left out the part about Peter walking on the water too.  But there is still plenty to learn even from this shortened story.

In it the disciples are crossing the sea and there is a storm.  Jesus stayed behind on the land.  Sometime into the night he saw the disciples struggling with the wind and a storm, he walked out on to the sea and intended to pass them.  But when they saw him, walking on the water-which they knew people didn’t do-they got a little freaked out and thought he was a ghost-a logical explanation for why a human looking figure would be above the water.  When Jesus saw them freaking out he went over to them, told them to calm down and identified himself, and got in the boat.  When he got in the boat the wind stopped.  I am going to guess the disciples were still a little freaked out and since people don’t usually walk on water, they didn’t understand how he did it.  Then they got across the sea and Jesus went about healing people.

Almost everyone comes down on one of two sides with this story.  1) There are those who berate the disciples for freaking out and not thinking or knowing that Jesus could walk on water or do whatever he wanted.  This is pretty much the look at the dumb disciples, they had so much to learn approach. Usually said from someone who has the benefit of knowing the Gospel story before reading the story and usually believing Jesus is God before reading the story.  2) The other side is the give the disciples the benefit of the doubt side.  These readers understand and remember the disciples, didn’t really know Jesus was the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, or that he could pretty much do anything he wanted because he God.  They try to put themselves in the sandals of the disciples and understand they have a lot more theological training or knowledge than the disciples did.

I probably fall more on side 2.  But I can understand side 1 because the disciples have seen a lot of stuff and they just saw 5,000 men get feed from very little food.  But that type of miracle had happened before, Elijah gave a woman a jar of oil and flour, that didn’t run out until there was rain in the land.  So multiplying food was something they had seen before, never before had they seen or heard of a prophet, messiah, or miracle worker walk on water!  This was some pretty wild stuff and totally new for them!  How many of us wouldn’t freak out if we saw someone walk on water.  Heck that Criss Angel, guy, did it one time in Las Vegas at a pool and people were freaking out, granted they were actors and getting paid to freak out.

So which side do you fall on, 1 or 2?


About Jesse

I am a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary with a Masters of Arts in Theology focusing on Church History. I am a Third Order Benedictine monk, in the Company of Jesus. I am married to a wonderful woman, we just had a baby Michaela Rose. You can follow me and be alerted of new blog post by following me on Twitter @jtalexanderiv. Or following this blog.
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