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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sydney Episcopalians - "Take Courage! It is I. Don't Be Afraid."

"Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.

Immediately he spoke to them and said, 'Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.' Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened
." (Mark 6:45-52)

Mark records this incident immediately after recording the incident of the "Feeding of the Five Thousand" and it is clear to him that there is a connection. The connection is just who it was in the midst of the disciples and the disciples' failure to recognize him.

The feeding of the five thousand was instructive yet the disciples failed to grasp the significance. To draw from Temple, "Every Evangelist supposed our Lord to have wrought a creative act; and for myself, I have no doubt that this is what occurred. This, however, is credible only if St. John is right in his doctrine of the Lord's Person. If the Lord was indeed God incarnate, the story presents no insuperable difficulties." (W. Temple, Readings in St. John's Gospel [London: Macmillan, 1940], p. 75).

According to John, the five loaves were barley bread (John 6:9). The general view is that barley loaves were not like the sizable loaves of bread seen today but were small and flat. Consequently, a more than plentiful supply was necessary from the hand of our Lord to sate the appetite of each present and to have loaves and fishes left over.

Grasp what had occurred here. It was not the practice of Jews to eat raw fish and the bread eaten in daily life was the result of blending raw ingredients of grain, olive oil, water or milk, usually then flattened and subsequently baked. Before the eyes of the disciples and the crowd our Lord instantaneously recreated and even multiplied finite objects without need of time consuming processes of preparation and cooking. Here, in their presence, stood the Sovereign Lord of the universe, the Creator of all things, yet they grasped it not.

Here was an act, among other purposes, intended to convince the audience that the One who created all things instantaneously "In the Beginning" was in their presence. Matter i.e. material substance was no barrier to His will. No, it was subject to His will, even a product of His will.

The subsequent incident recorded by Mark of our Lord walking on water exposed the failure of the disciples to recognize who it was among them for they were, at first, terrified then completely amazed when he got into the boat. They should have known after the feeding of the five thousand but they didn't. Their hearts were hardened. As such, they were no better off as to faith as were the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law. Mark purposely makes this point.

There is a substantial lesson to be learned here for those Sydney Episcopalians who are Theistic Evolutionists and, thus, whose limited faith causes them not to recognise the Lord's Person and Will mirror imaged in the account of Creation and incidents such as the feeding of the five thousand and walking on water. Hardened hearts prevent reception of full revelation of the Lord of the universe and are injurious to the need of lost.

Sam Drucker


John said...


What is your pyschological/spiritual explanation for people who say "Amen" to Jesus' Gospel miracles but not to his first one of bringing the whole universe out of nothing by merely willing it into existence, preferring instead to believe that naturalistic processes, even a law, ushered it in?

sam drucker said...

John, the explanation is contained in the actions of our Lord's disciples in the incidents described in my blog.

The problem for them as it is for Theistic Evolutionists today is that they do not know our Lord as well as they ought.

Despite all our Lord said and did those who followed him doubted who he was and his capacity.

The problem is a lack of faith. Thankfully, most of his disciples asked of him greater faith. This they received most remarkably at Pentecost although his resurrection and reappearance to them gave faith a solid boost. Not all who followed him went on with him.

Theistic Evolutionists today need to pray to him for greater faith. They need to approach the writings of Biblical Creationists with prayer that our Lord will give them wisdom to see truth. They should always test what they read by comparing it with what our Lord says in his word written.

Sam Drucker