Proper 7, Year B: Mark 4:35-41: Expanding the Table

You can see all the lectionary readings for Proper 7, Year B by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss the passage from the Gospel of Mark.

Jesus asks his disciples to come with him across the lake in the evening. They left a big crowd behind and got in a boat with Jesus. There were also other boats accompanying them. While they were out on the lake, a huge wind came up and the waves were coming into the boat so that it was getting swamped. Jesus was inside the boat, asleep. His disciples woke him, telling him they feared they would drown.

Jesus stood up and commanded the wind and water to be still. The wind stopped and the lake calmed.

He turned to his friends and asked why they were so afraid and why they didn’t have faith.

They were amazed at such a man who could command the wind and waves.

 

I’ve read some commentaries on this and find it compelling that when Jesus takes his disciples across the lake, it means he’s taking them toward the Gentiles, the non-Jewish people. The Christians in Mark’s time are figuring out how the Gospel changes when Gentiles come to it–many Jewish Christians were still following Jewish dietary laws and insisting on circumcision, but obviously that changed over time as more Gentiles came to faith. So they head out across the lake and when a storm comes up, they are afraid. They maybe fear how Jesus brings his love and truth to the world, and not only to those like themselves. Jesus was always expanding the table (I love this analogy in A Bigger Table by John Pavlovitz).