Welcome back to our discussion of Mark 6. We are exploring when Jesus walked on water and seeing the story with new perspective as we discover its connections to the Old Testament. Hopefully you read Monday’s post where we examined the connection between Exodus, when God identified himself to Moses as “I AM WHO I AM”, and Jesus’ use of the same identity in Mark 6. Let’s move on to the water.
Dark, Stormy, Deep
Yes, even the water in this story is significant. To understand why, we should examine Genesis. The dark stormy waves reference Genesis 1:2 when “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”. In the Ancient Near East, water (especially stormy and deep water) represented primordial chaos.
The waters described in Mark 6 were most definitely choppy and stormy. We know this because while the disciples started out to cross the lake in the evening, they are still rowing in the early hours of morning when Jesus heads towards them. Think about that. Have you ever tried the rowing machine at the gym? Now do that all night. Ouch. Half of the disciples were fishermen. This wasn’t their first go at rowing. Those waters were tumultuous. And yet Jesus came strolling across them like they were pavement.
Symbolism at its Best
Jesus walking on water is a direct reference back to Genesis. Remember, “And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”? Jesus walking on water points out that God—only God—has the power to walk easily over the chaos. God is powerful and sovereign, as well as intentional. Only he can hover over our chaos and calm the choppy waters. The connection to Genesis provides origin to this illustration of power and sovereignty. Without it, we miss the history and can grasp only a piece of this story’s significance.
This post is based on a longer discussion found in The Jesus Prequel