Bit of a quick one today, because I’ve blogged about Jesus walking on water before. I don’t have a lot more to add, except for a possible reference that made me go hmm…
See, the miracle narratives are there to show us who Jesus really is, and so they often contain references to the Old Testament (like, for instance, the calming of the storm); effectively they’re telling us that Jesus is God.
That’s what walking on water is all about – sure, it’s an easy way to get from A to B, but it doesn’t end there. Maybe this is most clearly seen in Mark’s telling of the story.
Job 9 tells us how God’s power sets him apart from the created order:
“He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. He is the maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. When he passes me, me I cannot see him; when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.”
It’s the last line that jumped out at me; God’s power makes him unfathomable, unknowable. Job’s picture of God isn’t a force of nature, he’s the power behind nature itself. Walking on water is an expression of this power.
So the passage from Mark reminds us that Jesus has divine power. Fair enough, but maybe it goes deeper than that. Because Mark makes a quick, almost throwaway reference to Jesus being about to walk past the boat.
(Stop me if I’m reading too much into things.)
See, Job describes God walking on water and not being seen or perceived when he passes by.
Mark talks about Jesus walking on water and making himself known.
God goes from being unknowable in his power to being present, approachable. He gets in the boat with us and walks alongside us. It’s the miracle of the incarnation in a nutshell and an evolution in the way we relate to God. And it would be typical of Mark, who often makes tiny references that nevertheless open up new avenues of interpretation.
As always your thoughts are appreciated!