[Forgot to press ‘Record’]
“Where Jesus Should Not Be”
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Immediately, Mark is moving us along, just as Jesus moved the disciples along into the boat. Then Jesus goes alone up onto a mountain to pray. “And when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and He alone upon the land” (Mark 6:47). Hours later, the boat is still on the lake, and Jesus is still on the mountain. And we have the first hint in this text that Jesus is doing things that no mere man can do: He sees—from the land to the middle of the lake, in the middle of the night, in the middle of a storm—that the boat is being harassed by the wind and that the disciples are going nowhere. Sometime around first light, Jesus comes walking on the water, unaffected by the storm, and—that strange comment—“He wanted to pass by them” (Mark 6:48). “But they, seeing Him walking upon the lake, thought that He was a ghost, and they cried out. For all of them saw Him and they were alarmed” (Mark 6:49-50). Five weeks ago we heard how Jesus, in the boat with the disciples, calmed a storm. This storm is different. It does not terrify the disciples. They do not think they are going to die. There is no indication, as some commentators suggest, that Jesus sends the disciples onto the lake so that they will fear for their lives, realize they are helpless, and see Jesus as their only help and salvation. Jesus has sent them out on the lake. But they are not afraid until they see Jesus! And they do not cry out to Him for help; they cry out in fear! They don’t even recognize Jesus as someone who can help. What’s ironic about this whole chapter is that the crowds more than once recognize Jesus and seek His help. The disciples, of all people, do not recognize Him. Not only do they not recognize Him, they fear Him. Because Jesus shows up where He should not be. Can you imagine the unexpectedness of this event? The disciples have been up all night fighting the wind, and all of a sudden, out of the semi-dark, someone, something is moving on the water past the boat. This is the heart-stopping terror of seeing unexplained movement outside your window in the middle of the night. This is the supernatural dread of some unknown phantasm. Jesus comes on the water, intending to show them that He is God “who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea” (Job 9:8, ESV); He comes in the midst of the storm, intending to show them the afterglow of His glory, but they are like Job: “Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not; he moves on, but I do not perceive him” (Job 9:11, ESV).