So, leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them, just as he was, in the boat; and there were other boats with him.
leopards are not chameleons
spots are not so easily changed
still muttering about seeds
Jesus is placed in a boat
a Parable Armada is underway
widening as it goes
it is not long before sea swells
rock all and a navigator to sleep
evening darkens and deepens
souls laid down and angels invited
ah sweet rest after a busy day
its seed planted rain awaited
Other boats are a transient detail that plays no other part in the story than reminding us that not all the followers were committed beyond what they could get for themselves. We may think about these boats a bit more as we get into later betrayals. They start out strong here, but are soon out of the picture. This is another way to chart our own engagement with the Jesus story—are we continuing close abaft, drifted away, or noting storm-clouds, return to safe harbor.
The greatest mystery here relates to the phrase, “took him as he was. His “wasness” includes the sense of a mission larger than the personal. Whether by land or water, the Way of Jesus includes partnering, through calls and responses, with those able to open new ways to both those who have settled into sufficient meaning for the time and those who are elsewhere. This will require questioning the verities our ancestors did their best to describe and wrestling with our own experiences of limits and their crossing.
Jesus’ “wasness” is not pushed back to John’s “in the beginning” or Matthew and Luke’s variants on a birth narrative. Mark begins with a sense of something more that led Jesus to travel from Nazareth to the Jordan. These subsequent “other side” trips are a continuation of exploring the presence of G*D and practicing so partnering with G*D and others that there is such similarity that anyone looking on would wonder how they keep completing one another’s thoughts.
The followers of Jesus had to take him as he was, not as they imagined what a Messiah or Partner of G*D would necessarily be and do. It is the tension between their recognition of Jesus’s ability to guide them outward and their own continual surprise at how much more there is to G*D and themselves, that keeps urging them onward.