Today I would like to explain this image. I used it for the previous Devo that focused specifically on the story when Jesus fed the 5,000 in Mark 6:30-44. However, this image actually covers Mark 6:30-8:26. I originally drew this picture as part of the Life of Jesus study. That study is a harmony of all four Gospels, so the phrase “I am the Bread of Life” comes from the Gospel of John. Other than that, all four Gospels tell this sequence of events in basically the same pattern. I think the sequence is important.
Here’s how the story progresses:
- Jesus feeds 5,000 on the Jewish side of the Lake and the disciples collect 12 baskets.
- Jesus calms the storm on the Lake as they pass over to the Gentile side.
- Jesus heals Gentile people and challenges the traditions of the Jewish leaders.
- Jesus feeds 4,000 people on the Gentile side of the lake and the disciples collect 7 baskets.
Jesus is a trouble maker.
His opening sermon declared that the kingdom of God is at hand, repent (change your perception) and believe the good news. The Jewish leaders had convinced the people that the Gentiles were unclean and they should never be touched or dealt with. The leaders had created hard, thick boundaries between “us” the holy people of God and “them” the dirty, rotten Gentiles. This sequence of stories demonstrates that Jesus is stirring the waters and disrupting this entire system. From the leaders’ perspective, he is feeding the beast of chaos.
The sea is stormy, and it’s Jesus’ fault. In theological circles, we call this the deconstructive process of learning. The process of change must first begin with the questioning of tradition and the extremely painful process of tearing down established beliefs.
Think of it like remodeling your kitchen. You have a vision for a beautiful new space in which you can cook good food and gather your friends and family for conversation and fellowship. The only way to get to that vision is to first take the sledge hammer and start making a HUGE MESS. It is chaos.
You must deconstruct.
Nobody likes to be deconstructed, especially if you didn’t ask for the remodel.
Jesus brought a massive sledge hammer to the cultural system of Israel in his day. He called Israel to “cross the sea” to the Gentiles and realize that the Kingdom of God is for everyone.
Jesus caused the storm.
The ancient world believed that the sea was the God of chaos. The storm happened between the stories of Jesus feeding the Jewish crowd and the Gentile crowd.
Jesus calmed the storm.
Here is the hope of the Gospel. No matter how difficult the process of change may be, the remodeled kitchen is worth it all. No matter how painful it is to carry the cross and die, the resurrection of new life makes it all worth it.
Whatever storm you are experiencing today, know that Jesus can calm it, even if he caused it by challenging you current thinking and belief system. You will get through.