Previously in part 1, we saw how Jesus, as the good Shepherd, fed his sheep spiritual as well as physical food and in doing so demonstrated his authority as God.
Today we will be delving into the other part of the poem coloured in blue.
I AM: Part 2 (Mark 6:30-52)
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (1st February 2013)
Jesus and his disciples went away
On a boat to a quiet place to stay
To rest from the pressing crowd for a while
And rejuvenate in the calming lull
But many in the crowd saw them leaving
They ran on foot in haste from their dwellings
And reached the place to where they were heading
For they were hungry for Jesus' teachings
When the boat finally sailed to the shore
Christ had compassion on the crowd he saw
For they were like sheep without a shepherd
So he taught them many things on God's Word
Jesus' disciples came to him and said
'This is a lonely place, it is now late
We all perceive that it is fair and good
To send them away to buy their own food'
'You give them something to eat' Jesus said
'How shall we buy them all sufficient bread?
Two hundred denarii needs to be paid'
They questioned as they wrinkled their foreheads
'How many loaves do you have? Go and see'
Jesus asked them who answered doubtfully
'We've five loaves of bread and two fish at hand
That will not fill the stomachs of grown men'
Christ grouped the crowd in hundreds and fifties
He looked to heaven, prayed and broke the loaves
Which were all distributed evenly
Jesus' disciples did as they were told
Christ divided the two fish among them
The loaves and fish were passed from hand to hand
Remaining were twelve full baskets at hand
More than sufficient for five thousand men
Christ then bade his disciples to journey
To Bethsaida on a boat before him
Dismissing the crowd accordingly he
Went up the mount to pray for strength within
At dusk, Jesus saw the boat on the sea
His disciples were sailing painfully
Scarcely making headway in their journey
For the winds were blowing so violently
Later on at night, Jesus came to them
Walking on the sea for this was his plan
They cried out ‘Ghost!' just like terrified men
Jesus said ’Take heart, fear not for I AM'
He got into the boat and the winds ceased
They were astounded but could not perceive
Him as God who provided bread for them
And calmed the storm for Jesus is I AM
Points for Reflection:
· After feeding the crowd of 5,000 men with more than sufficient food, Jesus sends his disciples ahead to Bethsaida in order to retreat for personal prayer. The Bible tells us the great importance of prayer and even Jesus Christ who is God, prays to his Heavenly Father.
Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. (Mark 6:45-46)
· Have you cultivated the habit of praying regularly to God? If not, why don’t you make it one of your New Year resolutions? If you have, do you find prayer a tiresome task which is just one of the items on your to-do list? Prayer should not be a dread and drudgery but it should be a refreshing time of having a heart-to-heart conversation with God, expressing your fears, sadness, problems, hopes, supplication, joy and thankfulness to him. And we can do that in confidence that he is always there to listen to our prayers.
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:7-13)
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
· Jesus’ disciples were battling violent windstorms as they were sailing to Bethsaida. Do bear in mind that these were tough fishermen who were used to the sea so this must have been an extremely rough one for them. Jesus saw their desperate need, came to them and again demonstrated his power as God, over natural forces that mere humans have no control over, by walking on the rough and turbulent sea. He was again fulfilling Old Testament prophecies.
And he [Jesus] saw that they [Jesus’ disciples] were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he [Jesus] came to them [Jesus’ disciples], walking on the sea. (Mark 6:48)
God who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea; (Job 9:8)
· When Jesus’ disciples saw him walking on the sea, they thought they saw a ghost and were terrified. But Jesus assured them that he is I AM which is a name that God calls himself by. For grammatical accuracy, most English Bibles would translate it as ‘Take heart, it is I’ instead of ‘Take heart, I AM’ in the original text.
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.” (Mark 6:49-50)
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14)
· Not only does Jesus walk on the sea but he sees his disciples’ helplessness and made the windstorms cease as he got into the boat with them. Even after the miracles that they have witnessed, they still did not recognize Jesus as I AM.
And 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. (Mark 6:51-52)
· Just like the disciples, we find that there are many storms of life which are out of our control. We would love very much to be in control of every sequence of events in our lives but that is just not possible. There will be stormy times but no storms are greater than our Lord Jesus Christ who is I AM.
I [Jesus] have said these things to you, that in me [Jesus] you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I [Jesus] have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)