During our Marching through Mark journey during Sunday sermon time, we have already encountered many of Jesus’ miracles. The witty story below helps amplify an important theological implication of one of these wondrous happenings:
“A rabbi, a priest, and a minister are out fishing in the middle of a lake. The priest tells his two colleagues, ‘I left my fishing rod in the car; I’ll be right back.’ He gets out of the boat, walks across the water to the beach, goes to the car, walks back across the lake, and gets into the boat. The rabbi stares at this in amazement. Thirty minutes later, the minister says, ‘I need to get a sandwich.’ He, too, gets out of the boat, walks across the water, finds the nearest eatery, then walks back across the water and gets into the boat. The rabbi is absolutely dumbfounded! The rabbi keeps thinking, ‘My faith is as great as theirs!’ So he speaks up and says, ‘I need to get something to drink; there’s a refreshment stand on the beach.’ He stands up, puts his feet on the water, and SPLASH, he goes straight down under the water. The priest and minister help him back into the boat. He is embarrassed, not to mention wet, but he knows he can do it if the other two can. So, he stands up again, steps out onto the water, and again, SPLASH! Again, he is dragged out and again decides to try. As he is going down for the third time, the priest turns to the minister and asks, ‘Do you think we should show him where the fence posts are?'”
In Mark 6, the author records the miracle of the feeding of 5,000 that is also recorded in Matthew, Luke, and John. It is the only miracle (other than Jesus’ resurrection) that is recorded in all four gospels. After this incredible meal, only Luke does not mention the miracle that follows as “Jesus Walks on the Water.”
Mark is the lone gospel to mention “…for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.” This was not to dismiss the followers as unbelievers, but as those who were actually somewhat low in their “faith understanding.”
If Jesus had the power to feed the multitudes, then He would also possess the sovereignty to control the wind and the waves .
Basically, Jesus did not need any help as He demonstrated His omnipotence. He also certainly did not need any fence posts to assist Him with authority over His Creation. The following is taken from a writing entitled “Calmed Wind & Hardened Hearts.” This should help us connect the New Testament with the Old Testament.
This is not the first time we’ve heard about hardened hearts in Mark’s gospel. Earlier in a synagogue, Jesus was grieved at the hardness of heart of those who lacked compassion for the man with a withered hand (3:5). We’ve come to expect hardness of heart from the likes of Pharisees and Herodians. But now we learn that insiders like the disciples also have hard hearts. Despite all they’ve seen and heard from Jesus, the disciples still have a long way to go in understanding Him and the nature of His Kingdom mission.
Mark’s audience, the Romans, just like us today, would have struggled with a hardened heart. Or, another way of saying it is this:
We often relate more to the natural (worldly things) than the supernatural (godly things). This thought process, this lack of faith, is an indication of a hard heart.
By that definition, my heart, and yours, are often hardened as we search for the fence posts that can help us rationalize God’s indescribable power!