Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lent Day 17 – Mark 6:45-56

Jesus saves? Again we see more allusions to the Exodus story in this passage. Jesus forces the disciples to leave before dismissing the crowd. Late that night as the disciples struggled against the waves in their boat, Jesus (walking on water!) intends to pass them (remember God’s goodness and glory passing by – Exodus 33:19, 22). The disciples think He’s a ghost and cry out in the fear. Jesus encourages them not to be afraid using words that signify the name “I Am” (which is LORD in many Old Testament translations of the Hebrew word Yahweh). Once Jesus is in the boat, the winds cease and the disciples are amazed yet again. Interestingly is Mark’s comment. Mark doesn’t say the disciples failed to comprehend the miracle when Jesus silenced the waves in chapter 4 but that they failed to understand the incident of the loaves. The disciples had failed to comprehend just how near God was to them in Jesus. This is the God who calms the seas and has compassion to get in the boat with them. This is the miracle working God who has compassion to feed the masses even when the people are lost and cry out in fear (v. 50).
Again crossing over to Gennesaret, Jesus’ ministry continues as one of healing. This is one passage where Mark’s theme of urgency is explicit. Notice the repetition of Mark’s use of the word “immediately” and how Jesus’ ministry is characterized in v. 55. It is also interesting that the last word of the chapter is “saved” though many translate it healed.
How does this miracle take on new meaning in light of the Exodus allusions?
What is Mark saying about Jesus’ identity? How might we have a healthy fear of Jesus? What does that look like? How then would you describe what a Jesus follower looks like?
Why do you think the disciples were struggling to comprehend Jesus as God? How can we allow ourselves to better comprehend God’s goodness and compassion?
What do you think it means that the word ‘saved’ can be translated ‘healed?’ What might that say about our understanding of what it means to be saved? What does it mean when we use the phrase "Jesus saves?"

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