Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray. When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea. He intended to pass them by. 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.
But immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid." Then he 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.
Today is Wednesday 9 January, in the season of Christmas.
Luke Parker sings, ‘In Quietness’.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Mark.
Try to place yourself in this scene. Jesus has just finished feeding the crowds. He makes his disciples get into a boat and set sail for the other side of the Sea of Galilee, then he turns to send the crowd home. Follow him as he goes up on the mountain to pray. What do you see? How would you describe the scene? How does Jesus appear? Is he agitated? At peace? How are you in this scene?
Several times in the gospels, the gospel writers draw our attention to Jesus at prayer. In Mark’s gospel, Jesus’ prayer and mission are closely linked. How do you pray? Is prayer a basic part of your life?
In the reading we hear of Jesus walking on the sea. Mark tells us Jesus does this because “he intended to pass them by.” Curious phrase, but it’s not what we may think! In the Old Testament, Moses begs God to reveal God’s glory to him. God does so, by coming close to Moses and then passing by. Here, on the sea, Jesus reveals himself to his disciples, he comes close to them and reveals his identity: As you hear the gospel passage again, how do you feel as Jesus says “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
As you reflect on the scene, can you trust in the mysterious presence of Christ amid the struggles and storms of your life? Take a moment now to pray for courage and for trust in the goodness of God, despite all the troubles and tragedies you may see around you.