On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes.
Jesus and his disciples voyage from Capernaum to “the other side”–the region of the Gerasenes. Gerasa was part of an area known as Decapolis, 10 cities that had been taken away from the Jewish people by the Romans and resettled. In order words, Jesus not only crosses the Sea of Galilee, but crosses the border between Jew and Gentile. And he went there on purpose. It is not the only time that Jesus crossed over into Gentile territories by sea or by land. And each time he crossed the border, he brought blessing: A man is delivered from “Legion”, 4000 are fed bread and fish, and a Greek woman’s daughter is healed.
Ched Myers interprets these crossings as Jesus demonstrating his determination “to bring liberation to those on the ‘other side’ despite their cultural and political differences.” (Our God is Undocumented p. 126) In crossing borders, Jesus affirms that the Kingdom of Heaven is a multi-national, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural phenomena and that entrance into the kingdom is not limited to an elite few.
Questions for Reflection
How do you think the disciples felt about crossing to the other side–knowing where they would land?
Have you ever felt uncomfortable with how “inclusive” Jesus is? If so, why?
Ched Myers interprets the “great windstorm” as the cosmic forces of evil that want to throw Jesus off course, so that the dividing lines of hostility will be maintained. Jesus rebukes the wind and the waves and continues his mission to unite Jews and Gentiles in the Kingdom of heaven. What do you think of his interpretation?