Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mark 6:45-52, Walking on the Water (The Study of Mark)

     45 And immediately, he compelled his disciples to get into the boat and to go ahead into the other side to Bethsaida1 while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after bidding them farewell, he departed into the hill2 to pray. 47 And when it became evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and he alone was on the shore3. 48 And he saw4 them struggling5 in the rowing of the boat, for the wind was against them. About the forth watch of the night6, he came to them walking on the sea and wanted to pass by them7 . 49 But the ones who saw him walking on the sea thought that he was a ghost8 and they cried out. 50 For all of them saw him and were terrified9. But immediately, he spoke with them, and says to them, “Have courage! It is I10, don’t be afraid.” 51 And he went up to them into the boat and the wind stopped and they were completely astonished in themselves, 52 for they didn’t understand the significance of the bread loaves11, but their heart was hardened12.


On the hills of the feeding of the 5000 miracle comes this miracle.  The most astonishing thing about this scene is just how little Jesus' disciples have understood up to this point.  Mark really puts them in "bad light" at the end of this scene.

1 This is a hard statement to understand if one reads Luke’s account about the feeding of the 5000 men. Luke says that the feeding miracle happened in Bethsaida. This is debated by scholars, but to no avail. It’s possible that there were two Bethsaidas: One on the western side of the sea and one on the eastern side.

2 τὸ ὄρος (hill) 

Greek: “mountain”.

3 τῆς γῆς (the shore) 

Greek: “the land” or “the earth”.

4 ἰδὼν (he saw) 

Greek: “seeing”.

5 βασανιζομένους (struggling) 

Greek: “tortured”. This is vivid imagery of just how hard the disciples were having to row against the wind.

6 τετάρτην φυλακὴν τῆς νυκτὸς (fourth watch of the night) 

About 3:00 am.

7 Possibly an allusion to Exodus 33:19-22.

19 And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” 21 Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.

8 φάντασμά (ghost) 

or phantom.

9 ἐταράχθησαν (terrified) 

Greek: “stirred up” or “troubled”. To cause great mental distress

10ἐγώ εἰμι (it is I) 

or “I am”.

11ἐπὶ τοῖς ἄρτοις (the significance of the bread loaves)

Greek: “on the basis of the bread loaves”. The disciples didn’t understand why the miracle happened nor did they understand just how significant it actually was.

12 The disciples didn’t understand the situation nor did you want to understand.

The Greek

Μάρκον 6·45 Καὶ εὐθὺς ἠνάγκασεν τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ ἐμβῆναι εἰς τὸ πλοῖον καὶ προάγειν εἰς τὸ πέραν πρὸς Βηθσαϊδάν, ἕως αὐτὸς ἀπολύει τὸν ὄχλον. 46 καὶ ἀποταξάμενος αὐτοῖς ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὸ ὄρος προσεύξασθαι. 47 καὶ ὀψίας γενομένης ἦν τὸ πλοῖον ἐν μέσῳ τῆς θαλάσσης, καὶ αὐτὸς μόνος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. 48 καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτοὺς βασανιζομένους ἐν τῷ ἐλαύνειν, ἦν γὰρ ὁ ἄνεμος ἐναντίος αὐτοῖς, περὶ τετάρτην φυλακὴν τῆς νυκτὸς ἔρχεται πρὸς αὐτοὺς περιπατῶν ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ ἤθελεν παρελθεῖν αὐτούς. 49 οἱ δὲ ἰδόντες αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης περιπατοῦντα ἔδοξαν ὅτι φάντασμά ἐστιν, καὶ ἀνέκραξαν· 50 πάντες γὰρ αὐτὸν εἶδον καὶ ἐταράχθησαν. ὁ δὲ εὐθὺς ἐλάλησεν μετ ̓ αὐτῶν, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· θαρσεῖτε, ἐγώ εἰμι· μὴ φοβεῖσθε. 51 καὶ ἀνέβη πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ πλοῖον καὶ ἐκόπασεν ὁ ἄνεμος, καὶ λίαν [ἐκ περισσοῦ] ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἐξίσταντο· 52 οὐ γὰρ συνῆκαν ἐπὶ τοῖς ἄρτοις, ἀλλ ̓ ἦν αὐτῶν ἡ καρδία πεπωρωμένη.

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