What does Mark 6:48 mean?
ESV: And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them,
NIV: He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them,
NASB: Seeing them straining at the oars—for the wind was against them—at about the fourth watch of the night, He *came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them.
CSB: He saw them straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Very early in the morning he came toward them walking on the sea and wanted to pass by them.
NLT: He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them,
KJV: And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
NKJV: Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.
Verse Commentary:
The evening that Jesus feeds the five thousand, He sends the Twelve ahead of Him to Capernaum while He goes to the mountains to pray. From this high vantage point, He can see the struggling boat four or five miles off. Although Luke mentions that they "sailed" to the Decapolis (Luke 8:23, 26), this may be a euphemism. There's no explicit indication this boat had a sail with which to tack against the wind. Or, the wind may be too strong for the fabric.

The fourth watch is between three and six a.m. The Twelve had met up after their missions trip, rowed the boat the six miles from Capernaum to Bethsaida, spent the day watching Jesus heal people and listening to Him preach, passed out food in the afternoon, then returned to the boat to row it back to Capernaum. Now, they have been rowing for hours with little to show for it.

It's unclear why Jesus intends to pass them by. It could be that this is the Twelve's perception, not Jesus' intention. Or that Jesus plans to walk close enough for them to call out to Him. Some scholars believe that He means to emulate His pre-incarnate experiences with Moses (Exodus 33:19–23) and Elijah (1 Kings 19:11–12). Seeing the glory and power and dominion of Jesus should encourage the Twelve. Instead, it terrifies them and they mistake Him for a ghost (Mark 6:49).

God gave His prophets the ability to perform miracles in order to prove that their message was from Him. Common examples are healing, exorcising demons, and raising the dead. But there are a few miracles the Bible records only God being able to do. This includes walking on water (Job 9:8; Isaiah 43:16; 51:10; Habakkuk 3:15) and giving sight to the blind (Isaiah 42:5–7; Luke 4:16–19; Mark 8:22–26; 10:46–52).
Verse Context:
Mark 6:45–52 continues to escalate the scope of Jesus' miracles. From healing illnesses and injuries (Mark 1:33–34) to raising the dead (Mark 5:35–43). From exorcising one demon (Mark 1:23–26) to expelling a horde of them (Mark 5:1–15). From calming the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35–41) to this account, where Jesus walks on its waters. Still, the Twelve continue to misunderstand who Jesus is and what He has come to do. They think He will be king and save Israel from the Romans. By sending them ahead of Him, He shields them from the crowd who believe the same. This miracle is also found in Matthew 14:22–33 and John 6:16–21.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus returns to His hometown of Nazareth, but the people there are faithless and skeptical. As a result, Jesus performs no more than a few minor miracles. He then assigns His twelve apostles to travel in pairs, preaching repentance and healing various conditions. Mark then takes a brief detour to explain the death of John the Baptist, beheaded after Herod Antipas is tricked by his wife. The focus then returns to Jesus, explaining His miraculous feeding of thousands of people, walking on water, and healing people in Gennesaret.
Chapter Context:
Even as the Twelve are given opportunity to wield some of Jesus' power and authority, they still struggle to understand. They misinterpret who He is, what He has come to do, and how much He will ask of them. They fear Jesus' display of deity, but seem to dismiss the murderous rejection of His hometown and the death of John the Baptist. It's easy to have faith in a prophet who seems poised to rescue Israel from foreign rule. It is still beyond them to understand that He is actually God.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 5/28/2024 12:58:03 AM
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