I want to take a moment to thank you all for your patience with me Sunday as we walked through the book of Mark while I wasn’t feeling the best!
Mark was discipled by the Apostle Peter and Peter’s influence can be seen throughout the book. The emphasis was on action, as was fitting to Peter’s personality. Mark sought to show that Jesus brought the kingdom with Him and that everything was about to change.
Incredibly, even though He was the Son of God, Jesus came as the suffering servant, as we can see in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (NASB95) Jesus here clearly articulates that while He could seek folks to serve Him as the Son of Man, He wasn't interested in that. He was more concerned with completing the Father’s mission and preaching to the different towns in Israel (Mark 1:38) for the time had been fulfilled and the kingdom was at hand (1:15).
Jesus was inaugurating the Kingdom of God on earth and was inviting people to be a part of it (1:17). He taught about the kingdom in chapter 4. By healing people, casting out demons, and forgiving sin, Jesus showed His authority over these things (see Mark 1:21-34, 2:1-12, 5:21-43).
On one particular occasion (Mark 6:45-52), when the disciples were on the boat in the middle of the sea in a raging storm, Jesus was walking on the water and intended to pass by them. He had been praying on the mountain and then He came to them on the water in the middle of the night. I think this is a rather funny moment because He was just going to walk by like nothing was happening! Then they cried out to Him so He encouraged them and got in the boat. Immediately, the storm calmed. The disciples were totally astonished and surprised at this.
Mark gives insight in verse 6:52 of why this was such a shock to the disciples. He said, “for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves [from Jesus’ miracle the previous evening], but their heart was hardened.” (NASB95) I think this understanding came from Peter, being one of the disciples who was on that boat in the storm and having personally experienced the Lord calming the storm. It seems that with time, reflection, and the insight of the Holy Spirit, Peter could look back and see why it was they weren’t fully understanding Jesus’ divinity and His mission, let alone the way He would accomplish it with His death. This gives me great hope because this means that Jesus continues to work on our hearts and helps us grow in Him, even if we are sometimes slow to understand what He’s doing. Thankfully, we have Mark’s gospel to get to know Jesus and to see that He came to save us by giving His life as a ransom for us.
May the Lord give us responsive hearts for Him!
Questions for Reflection: