It takes the eyes of faith to see God’s saving presence in the storms of life.
The calming of the sea manifests that Jesus has authority over natural elements. His pronouncement, “It is I,” recalls God’s words to Moses, “I am who I am,” referring to God himself (Ex 3:14). Describing Jesus walking on the waters, Mark presents Jesus as equal to God in the manner of the Old Testament descriptions in Job: he is like God who “alone stretches out the heavens and treads upon the back of the sea” (9:8); or in the words of the Psalmist: “In their distress they cried to the Lord, who brought them out of their peril; he hushed the storm to silence, the waves of the sea were stilled” (107:28-29).
But the disciples do not recognize the divine powers of Jesus (who has multiplied loaves and fish to feed thousands) because of their hardness of heart. Their eyes are focused on the extraordinary events rather than on the person of Jesus. The wonders by themselves are not enough to make the disciples recognize Jesus as the one sent by God. It will take the later events of the cross, the resurrection, and Pentecost to have them see in retrospect that Jesus is Lord and Savior.
Gospel • MARK 6:45-52
After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray. When it was evening, the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore. Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward 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. They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were completely astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.
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