Have you ever watched a movie in which the plot is complex and winding, the use of foreshadowing and referencing is expertly crafted? Each time you watched you picked up on new elements of the story that brought fresh meaning and significance to what happened to the characters. This is how I read the Bible. I’m constantly finding connections—intentional connections—to what Jesus did or said in the New Testament and what took place in the Old Testament. Jesus walking on water in Mark 6 is one of these places.
Let’s back up, all the way to Exodus where God talks to Moses at the burning bush. There are three significant connections I want to talk about between Mark 6 and the Old Testament. Two of those connections refer back to Exodus. For today, let’s talk about the first.
I AM WHO I AM
In Exodus 3:13, Moses asks God what to tell people when they ask God’s name and God replies “I AM WHO I AM”. This takes place in Egypt, a polytheistic society. Not only was it polytheistic, Pharaoh himself was believed to be the manifestation of the sun god. This means he was believed to be a deity. Add to this that Moses was a shepherd and in Egypt’s strict hierarchy, shepherds were at the bottom. SO, when God said “I AM WHO I AM”, he is not only establishing himself as the one and the only God in a society that worships many gods, including their leader, he is using someone from the very bottom of the social strata to pass along that message.
Okay, back to Mark. If you’ve grown up in the church, you know how this story goes. Jesus’ disciples are rowing across the lake after a day of teaching. Jesus later decides to join them and does it by walking on the water. The disciples freak out and Jesus tells them, “Take heart! It is I; do not be afraid” (verse 51).
SEE WHAT HE DID THERE?
Did you catch what Jesus said to his disciples when they were scared? “Take heart, It is I; do not be afraid”. In other words “Take heart, I Am”. Jesus employs the same phrase that God used to identify himself to Moses in Exodus. In case you’re wondering, Jesus ruffled just as many feathers by referring to himself as “I AM” in places throughout the New Testament as when God did it in the Old Testament. We can explore that more another day.
Jesus was intentional. He still is. There is purpose to what he is doing in your life. He is I AM, and the Old Testament helps us appreciate that from a new perspective
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