In the latter part of this chapter, Mark gathers stories which show in different ways that Jesus has power not only in relation to human hearts, but to the created world. Bluntly, amazing things happen when he’s around – things that are amazing not just because they’re impressive, but because they meet and answer people’s need.
First of these, starting at 6:30, is the feeding of the five thousand – the one miracle (other than the resurrection) recorded in all four gospels. Mark doesn’t give the fullest account, but his stark telling keeps the focus on the central event. That when the disciples obey Jesus’ order to gather the people in groups, and he blesses and breaks food, all are fed with plenty left over. Jesus would not turn stones to bread to feed himself in the desert, but he multiplies bread and fish beyond all measure to feed others.
Then, having taken time with his Father to renew himself after that miracle, Jesus walks across the water to join his disciples. I remember reading somewhere that the phrase ‘He intended to pass them by’ is significant. It’s not that he was ignoring them. Rather, the phrase echoes the moments when people in the Old Testament see something of God’s glory, as close as they can bear it. Think of Moses or Elijah. They saw God directly, but not face to face – only as he passed them by. Mark is hinting that in Jesus, we are seeing God directly – and hinting that the disciples glimpsed something of this vision.
Be that as it may, the central truth here is that Jesus goes where he wants, when he wants. He can walk on water as easily as on grass, for both of them exist only because they have been called into being through him – and when he tell the wind and waves to be still, they obey him.
Lastly, Jesus heals people – not just with his attention and words, but simply by his presence with them, as they reach out in part-formed, perhaps superstitious, faith to touch his cloak.
Where Jesus is, amazing things happen.
How can I see his presence in the events around me today?