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Who Do You Say I Am?
The Gospel of Mark

The Fringe

 
Mark 6:45-46
Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.

This year we are studying the Gospel of Mark attempting to answer the question, “Who do you say I am?”  Who is Jesus.  What we believe about Jesus changes our lives!  Mark chapter six seriously begins to reveal who Jesus is.  We have made it all the way to the end of chapter six.  I am excited about what we have learned about Jesus. 

In Mark chapter six Jesus is hurt. 

--He is rejected by his hometown congregation.  Instead of giving him a Senior Banquet to honor him, his family, his high school buddies, his cradle roll teacher, his loved ones, reject him.  Jesus marveled at their unbelief.  We see Jesus as human!

--Then, while his apostles are out doing Jesus stuff on their own, his cousin, his co-worker, John the baptizer is beheaded.  Herod Antipas hosts a banquet of high up muckety mucks… the powers of Galilee… That banquet, John’s death foreshadows Jesus’s own death.  We see Jesus with an appointment with a Roman cross.

--So, Jesus needed a break to mourn for his cousin.  Jesus needed a break, but instead, the crowds flock to him with their needs.  Jesus has compassion on 5,000+ yahoos.  Jesus feeds them, pointing to the eschatological banquet.  One day we will eat with Jesus, just like he ate with those beside the sea. We see Jesus as the compassionate LORD!

Finally, in Mark 6, Jesus does get his time to mourn.  Jesus sends the disciples off in their boat, runs the crowd off, and then climbs up a mountain to pray.  It would have been amazing to have been a rock on that mountain, and listened to that prayer. 

Perhaps…

--Jesus prays for John’s the baptizer’s followers.

--Jesus shares his own grief with the Father.

--Jesus prays for courage to continue to the cross.

--Jesus prays for patience with the yahoos.

--Jesus prays for his own disciples.  Everything depended upon the faith of his disciples.

Anyway… after his time alone on the Mountain with his father… the action resumes in verse 47…

Mark 6:47-50 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and Jesus was alone on the land. 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, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified.

Somewhere between 3 a.m and 6 a.m, in the middle of the night, Jesus walks on the water.  There are several things wrong with this picture. 

--The disciples must not have been very good sailors.  They been rowing against the wind for 7+ hours.  The Sea of Galilee is less than 10 miles wide. It would have been faster to get out and walk. 

--Which Jesus did. Jesus is walking on the water.  What?  How does that even work?  Do his feet get wet? Does he have to climb up the waves?  Perhaps, he is just flying low.

--The disciples don’t even recognize Jesus… They think he is a “phantasma”!  Jesus is a ghost?  They are tired.  I know my eyes don’t work well at 3 in the morning.

--But the weirdest thing in the whole story is that Jesus was intending to pass on by.  In Matthew’s account of the walking on the water the “Passing on by” is not mentioned.  What is going on here?  Jesus was going to leave them rowing against the wind and just stroll on by?  Why pass by them?

Let’s take a time out.  I need to retell an Old Testament story.  All the way back to Moses in the book of Exodus chapter 33.  Chapter 33 is about Moses and his relationship with YWHW.  Moses talks directly with YHWH. Moses is so tight with YWYW he makes a request. 

Exodus 33:18-23 Moses said, "Please show me your glory." And the LORD 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. But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live." And the LORD said, "Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 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. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen."

“Wait a minute, Tim.  Mark is thinking about Exodus 33?  The cleft of the rock?  Mark is doing theology?  Mark is saying Jesus is like YHWH and passing by the disciples like YHWH passed by Moses?”  I think so.  Jesus is not a phantasma haunting them.  Jesus is revealing to his disciples that he is YHWH!  Jesus is revealing his glory by walking by the boat!  Mark wants us to connect Jesus with the Moses YWHW story!

Wait, wait.  This is not the only Moses connection. Jesus already did a Moses thing by going up on a mountain.  Jesus went up the mountain to be with God just like Moses went up on Mount Sinai to hear from YHWH!

Wait, there is another Moses connection… Jesus doesn’t divide the sea… Jesus walks on it.  Moses divided the Red Sea to allow the Hebrews to cross.  Jesus walks on the water and controls the winds!

Mark is doing theology.  Mark is telling us that Jesus is YWHW. I suspect Mark knew Job chapter 9:8.

Job 9:8 Who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea;

But wait, there’s more…

Mark 6:50 But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid."

The ESV misses the point.  Listen to this verse from the more literal YLT…

YLT Mark 6:50 Take courage, I am, be not afraid.”

evgw, eivmi I AM – YHWH – The I Am… Jesus calls himself YHWH… Take heart!  I Am!  Do not be afraid. 

Flashbacks to the burning bush… Moses asks God his name… God answer his name is YWHW… in the Septuagint Greek translation of the Old Testament.  God is the evgw, eivmi.

Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

Coincidence?  I think not… Mountain…passing by… Job only God walks on the water… and Jesus saying he is the evgw, eivmi Mark is revealing that Jesus is YWHW.

And Mark doesn’t stop… there is still more…

Mark 6:51-52 And Jesus got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened. (Let’s say slow)

They did not understand about the feeding of the 5,000 or they would have not been utterly astounded at Jesus hiking by the boat.

Maybe we are a bit slow as well… What did we miss about the feeding of the 5,000? Let’s go back to last week and look for what we missed…

Mark 6:38-44 And Jesus said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." And when they had found out, they said, "Five, and two fish."  Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties.  And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all.  And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

--5 loaves and 2 fish… make 7.  Seven is the Bible number for complete.

--12 baskets left over. 12 in the Bible is usually the tribes of Israel.

--5,000 men divided into 50 and 100s like Exodus 18…

Exodus 18:21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties…

They missed that Jesus was doing the YHWH thing of feeding his people.  This has to be the manna!

Exodus 16:14-15 And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground.  When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.”

Manna means, “What is it?”

Jesus fed the 5,000 just like God fed Israel for 40 years in the wilderness.  If the disciples had made that connection; if the disciples had seen YHWH in Jesus, they would not have been so astounded to see Jesus walking by… “Hey how’s it going?  Can you give us a little help with the wind?”

Mark IS doing theology… Jesus is YHWH, who is the I AM, who feeds his people, who reveals his glory to his disciples!

Wow… that may be too much.  There’s a bit more…

Mark 6:53-56 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

The word “well” is literally saved.  Most of the time when people are healed the Greek word is qerapeu,w therapeuo.  But here the well is sw|,zw sozo… saved. Just touching the hem of his garment is enough to save a person. 

If we take these Moses/YWHW concepts and apply them to 64 AD Rome… the setting of the Gospel of Mark. We find in chapter 6…

If those Roman Christians facing persecution under Nero…

--Families who reject them because of the faith… okay, so did Jesus.

--Facing evil of Roman emperors… okay, so did Jesus.

--Facing death on a cross for being who they are… okay, so did Jesus.

--Facing hunger or sickness… Okay Jesus can deal with that.

--Rowing against the wind… Okay, that is when Jesus will show his glory!

--The Fringe has power! 

Mark is telling us the same thing!  If we can just touch the fringe of who Jesus is… if our hearts aren’t too slow… then we will be made well… saved…

--Family problems… Jesus can make us well

--Evil…

--Fear of death…

--Handle the cares of the world…

--Rowing against the wind

Understanding who Jesus is… YWHW… changes how we respond to all the stuff of life.  We need to do some theology… Jesus is YWHW in your life! 

If we can just touch the fringe of his garment… in Faith… it changes everything!

 
Tim Stidham

June 11, 2017

Los Alamos Church of Christ



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