On Water

On Water: Mark 6:45-52
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday June 14, 2020

As we do so often, please remember that Mark’s gospel is utility. It has a purpose, it has a pace, and it has a plan.

Mark’s purpose is to demonstrate Jesus is messiah, his pace is swift only recording what he deems necessary, and it has a plan – highlight the gospel of God delivered by Jesus.

In is utility gospel fashion, Mark interestingly only records 3 prayers of Jesus, one of those is here – today. He records Jesus’ ministry start Mark 1:35, here after the feeding fo the 5,000 (6:46), and finally before the cross at Gethsemane in Mark 14:32-42.

Mark 1:35 (ESV)
Jesus Preaches in Galilee
35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

Mark 14:32-42 (ESV)
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”
33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled.
34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”
35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
37 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour?
38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words.
40 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him.
41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

And so what do we learn from this 1 of 3 prayers in Mark’s utility gospel?

Jesus prayed privately, 2) before pivotal moments/decisions, 3) prayer was at time, tense.

Jesus knows and was known by God – what better?

Distance can make us un-attached and un-appreciated towards God Jesus reminded us – that He is near.

I was recently asked in an interview “who from history, if you could talk to anyone, would you talk to”.

What is your answer – who would it be great to know?

Mark 6:45–52 (ESV)
Jesus Walks on the Water
45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.
He made.

This will become important. Think about the scene here. John 6:15 reminds us that

15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

Why wouldn’t they want to go? Consider this, what was the gospel mission of Jesus; live in all ways like us tempted to sin, raising up disciples and training them to establish His church, and to make final payment for sin.

As the disciples are now in the middle of that plan with Him, they know that they’re going from town to town proclaiming God as creator and Jesus as messiah. They’ve JUST fed the 5,000 the people want to elect Jesus as king, they have lots of people after their ministry – … mission accomplished, right?

Isn’t that the goal, get lots of people to follow, set up a home base of ministry – have a kids ministry, a youth ministry, maybe a parents of wayward kids ministry, have a really cool Christmas play…

Jesus made them get into the boat, some translations say Jesus compelled them to get into the boat, either way – they didn’t want to get into the boat.

But as we go, remember this – Jesus put them in that boat, and he made them go.

46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.

Remember this is one of only 3 recorded prayers in Jesus’ ministry in Mark’s utility gospel. Why record this one?

Lots happens from this point on. In fact “tomorrow” in John 6:66 the day after Jesus’ prayer, after this group of people want’s to make him King we read:

John 6:64–66 (ESV)
64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)
65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.

Interesting yield of those prayers a day later – many of the disciples following after him, left him. The crowed who just so recently wanted to lift Him up as king, was gone.

He went up on the mountain to pray. Maybe thanking God for the defeat of a temptation to seek after a comfortable ministry of ease with people who thought he should be King. Maybe for His disciples to not settle for earthly exaltation of Him and an easy Kingdom, maybe for the struggles to come – maybe now turning to the up-coming crucifixion, maybe all of those things.

47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.

48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them,

Watches of the night are 6-9 first watch, 9-12 second watch, 12-3, and fourth 3-6. About the 4th watch He came toward them – John says the 4th watch and adds that they’re 25-30 stadia out, a stadia being 1/8 mile they’ve made it over 3 miles out.

So a few things to note, they’re at the 4th watch, the storm is kicking their butts and they’re only halfway out.

Now, I think to really benefit from this story you have to change shoes. Often, we read about the disciples and their interactions with Jesus while wearing Jesus shoes, or from His perspective. Why, because it’s the right perspective, He’s going to be right, and we can stand shoulder to shoulder with Jesus, look at the disciples, and go… guuuuyyyys.

But shoe swap; things were going well, you had a HUGE following, just fed 5 thousand people, and Jesus made you leave.

You’re 3ish miles out in the sea, and things aren’t going well. Where is Jesus, don’t know He just made you leave. Some translations wills tart by saying in verse 48 that they were rowing, that isn’t wrong and neither is this. The word-phrase that’s being translated kind of says, they were moving a long, by wind or ors otherwise through efforts, painfully. Maybe some were rowing, some were bailing it out with buckets some were fighting the wind and sails, this was all out restless effort. Remember we’re swapping shoes here – so we’re not on the mountain praying and see the disciples *whether through omniscience or sight seeing a storm on the water* we’re on the boat struggling.

The literal language of this scene in Matthew’s gospel says that the boat was being tested through torture, they’re in trouble here, making no progress into the 4th watch, 3 am still stuck.

Maybe those sandwiches were wearing off, maybe folks are grumpy and snapping at each other – why would Jesus let them be here?

But on the 4th watch, he came to them, walking on the sea … “he meant to pass by them”

There is some weird stuff going on here – and I don’t mean Jesus walking water, because I just accept that He is the God-man, through whom all things were created, who is God’s promised Messiah not constrained by the natural order of His own creation, but subjected Himself to it to be tested in all ways like to, to be without sin, and therefore to be the only acceptable perfect sacrifice once and for all for sin – what’s weird to me is this:

“he meant to pass by them”.

  • To this Lensky says concludes that Jesus wanted them to reach out for salvation
  • David Garland summarizes other views that the Disciples would think of 1
  • Kings 11:19 or Exodus 33:18-23 Or Amos 7,
    • 1 Kings 11:19 (ESV)
      19 And Hadad found great favor in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him in marriage the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen.
    • Exodus 33:18-23(ESV)
      18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”
      19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.
      20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”
      21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock,
      22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by.
      23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”
    • Amos 7
      Warning Visions
      1 This is what the Lord God showed me: behold, he was forming locusts when the latter growth was just beginning to sprout, and behold, it was the latter growth after the king’s mowings.
      2 When they had finished eating the grass of the land, I said,
      “O Lord God, please forgive!
    How can Jacob stand?
    He is so small!”
3 The Lord relented concerning this:
    “It shall not be,” said the Lord.
      4 This is what the Lord God showed me: behold, the Lord God was calling for a judgment by fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land. 5 Then I said,
      “O Lord God, please cease!
    How can Jacob stand?
    He is so small!”
6 The Lord relented concerning this:
    “This also shall not be,” said the Lord God.
      7 This is what he showed me: behold, the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand.
      8 And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said,
      “Behold, I am setting a plumb line
    in the midst of my people Israel;
    I will never again pass by them;
      9 the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate,
    and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste,
    and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”
      Amos Accused
      10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words.
      11 For thus Amos has said,
      “‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword,
    and Israel must go into exile
    away from his land.’”
      12 And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there,
      13 but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”

14 Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was[a] no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs.
15 But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ 16 Now therefore hear the word of the Lord.
“You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel,
    and do not preach against the house of Isaac.’
17 Therefore thus says the Lord:
“‘Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city,
    and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword,
    and your land shall be divided up with a measuring line;
you yourself shall die in an unclean land,
    and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.’”

  • Or even that the disciples THINK Jesus is going to pass them by… but I dont think so, for this last one – keep reading:

49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out,
50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

No, this was all for the disciples, and so we step into their shoes. What did they learn?

They learned and were reminded of Jesus ministry and that His ministry (and then by extension their own) was grounded in the OT scriptures, they learned of Jesus Deity, and they learned who Jesus is and there for, who they knew.

51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

So I say again, I was recently asked in an interview “who from history, if you could talk to anyone, would you talk to”.

What is your answer – who would it be great to know?

I’m unimpressed by people from history – and I know Jesus already so everyone else is kinda, meh. Jesus got into the bot with them, the wind ceased. When you realize that you know and are known by Jesus, that he interceded for you the right Hand of the father.

Life becomes worship and worshipful.

This passage is about both who you are and whose you are – let this sink in and it will change your everything.

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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