After reading the Gospel of John today, I can’t help but draw a comparison between Jesus and Moses. Jesus claims in John 5 that Moses is his forerunner, the authorizer of his message. The pharisees don’t get Moses; thus, they don’t get Jesus.
But John does something interesting in chapter 6.
Sure, we all know the story: Jesus walks on water. But consider how differently this act looks when placed next to Moses’ dealing with water. Jesus, rather than “parting” the waters, allows them to remain intact. In other words, he respects the integrity of creation–not bending it to his will (as we so often do, poking and prodding the earth to yield what we desire from it), but demonstrating his mastery over it even while letting it rage unfettered. Further, “immediately the boat reached the land towards which they were going” (v. 21). The sea responds to this respectful engagement by cooperating: it does what the humans want it to do.
How often we imagine the natural world as passive object in a universe of human actors! Instead, I imagine those salty H2O molecules prancing with joy underneath the calloused toes of their Savior, happily delivering the disciples’ boat to shore–no wild wake, no discrepant tide to challenge the oar.
Hmm. Call me whimsical, I suppose. (Rather: call me Ishmael.)
Lest I lead astray: I am not saying Moses is an archetype of the plunderous attitude which characterizes our society. But… I think it’s significant that when God comes in Jesus–fulfilling and completing the good work begun in the Exodus–he comports himself differently with respect to nature. He opens the path to a renewed engagement of the physical world.
Can we expect anything less from the very Representative of creation redeemed?