Today we wrap up this three part series on Mark 6. This last connection can be easy to miss, but once you see it, it will blow your mind and bring this whole thing together. Let’s take another look at Exodus.
A Quick Review
In the earlier parts of Exodus, God speaks to Moses at the burning bush, gives Moses the power to free the Hebrews and part the Red Sea, provides the Hebrews manna and water in the wilderness, and gives his people the ten commandments.
Suffice it to say Moses has seen some amazing things so far. And yet, in chapter 33, Moses asks God to show him even more of himself so he will know him and “find favor in his sight”. Insert tangent here: I want to be like this. I think this is one of the true hallmarks of those who really know God—they’re never content with what they’ve already seen and what they already know. Tangent over.
God Passes By
God is gracious to Moses’ request and tells him that he will reveal part of himself, “for no one can see my face and live” (verse 20). God protects Moses in the cleft of a rock while he passes by. He shields Moses with his hand until he has passed and then says, “you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen” (verse 23). This what is referred to as a “theophany”, a special moment where there is an unusual or dramatic revelation of God. God revealed his identity and his name in chapter three and gives Moses a glimpse of his glory, just enough that it won’t kill him, in chapter 33.
Are You Ready for This?
By now we know the story of Jesus walking on the water backwards and forwards, inside and out. But have you ever looked at Jesus’ original intention when he set out towards his disciples? Verse 48 tells us that, “He meant to pass by them,” but this changed when they freaked. I’m convinced Jesus was planning a theophany for his disciples. Jesus’ act of passing by the disciples is a direct reference to the theophany in Exodus 33-34 when God passes by Moses. Just as when God demonstrated his glory by showing his back to Moses, Jesus demonstrates his glory by doing something humanly impossible—walking out on the lake to join his disciples.
I would argue that Mark’s gospel shows Jesus intentionally referring to the Old Testament, both in word and in action. The presence of all three connections, colliding in dramatic fashion, convinces me that Jesus was using these words and actions, all symbolically grounded in the teachings his disciples knew, to show them that he was God.
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