Following Jesus, fulfilling His mission

Encounters by the Sea – Jesus demonstrates His power over creation

So far in Mark’s Gospel Jesus had demonstrated his power over demons, over death, and over sickness. In the context of the storm on the Sea of Galilee Jesus demonstrates His power over creation. Much of the New Testament narrative of Jesus’ ministry takes place alongside this 11 klms wide and 21 klms long stretch of water – “by the sea”, or “in a boat” are often used phrases.02

Gospel Mark sea is a bed, a classroom, a viewing platform, and a retreat.

Mark introduces his subject – ‘the gospel of Jesus Christ’ – and brings to front of stage an adult Jesus Christ on the threshold of His ministry years:1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God

Erasmus, a contemporary of Martin Luther, says in the preface of his Greek Testament: “These holy pages will summon up the living image of [the mind of Christ]. They will give you Christ Himself, talking, healing, dying, rising, the whole Christ in a word; they will give Him to you in an intimacy so close that He would be less visible to you if He stood before your eyes.”[quoted in Wuest]

Mark 4:35-41 (ESV) (see Mt. 8:23–27; Lk. 8:22–25)
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Transition: One day at a trial, an eminent psychologist was called to give evidence. A severe no nonsense professional, she sat down in the witness chair unaware that its rear legs were set precariously on the back of the raised platform.

“Will you state your name?” asked the prosecutor.

Tilting back in her chair, she opened her mouth to answer, but instead catapulted head-over-heels backward and landed in a stack of exhibits and recording equipment.

Everyone watched in stunned silence as she extricated herself, rearranged her dishevelled suit and hair and was reseated on the witness stand. Her steely eyed glare dared anyone to so much as snigger.

“Well, doctor,” continued the prosecutor without changing expression, “we could start with an easier question.”

This passage in the Gospel of Mark is laden with questions.

35 On that day…: What a day it had been. The blasphemous accusations from the religious leaders, the visit of the mother and brothers to take Him home (suggesting he was out of His mind), the leaving of the crowded house for the seaside, then in the house again, and now out of the house for the open sea….