If the gospel stories were preserved in patterns determined by preaching and reinforced by decades of the same, we should expect the gospel sequences to be thematic, not chronological. And this is, in fact, what we find.
…Recalling the ancient tradition that Mark’s material came from Peter, we observe the graphic details indicating that this story represents firsthand testimony: the churning water, the dangerous wind, the peril of the little boat, and the growing anxiety of the crew.
…The question asked in the storm scene, therefore, represents the fundamental inquiry that brings individuals to faith in Jesus: “Who do you say that I am?” Here in the two sequential gospel scenes—the storm and the demoniac—we find that fundamental question stated and answered. It was a baptismal question. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that this question is answered at the waterside, the place immediately beside the baptismal waters. In Mark (especially), the waterside is a common site where potential believers encounter Jesus: the first disciples (Mark 1:16–19), Levi (2:13–14), the great crowds (3:7–9), the sick (6:53–55), the deaf mute (7:31–32), and the blind man (8:22). This suggestion of conversion and repentance at the waterside evokes the imagery of baptism.
…Does the juxtaposition of these two scenes—the storm and the demoniac—represent a preaching motif of early Christian preaching, a remnant of pre-baptismal catechesis, or does it simply mean the two events actually followed each other in sequence? It is difficult to say, but it is also unnecessary to decide.
From The Jesus We Missed: The Surprising Truth About the Humanity of Christ by Patrick Henry Reardon.
The Jesus We Missed: The Surprising Truth About the Humanity of Christ by Patrick Henry Reardon (excerpts from chapter 5):
By the time the four gospels were composed, it is safe to say that probably nobody was certain of the actual sequence of all the events in Jesus’ life. It was not thought to be important. Other considerations, consequently, determined the order in which these stories were handed down in the church’s catechesis (based on the apostles’ preaching) and later recorded (in the four gospels).
…When the Spirit descended on Jesus at his baptism, something changed. It was an event, with a before and after. Of course, Jesus already was conscious of himself as God’s Son (cf. Luke 2:49), but this new experience at his baptism was decisive; it created, in his life, a then and now. He grew, he increased, through this experience; and, when he went through it, his family and friends recognized that something truly unique had happened to him. Indeed, they were disturbed by his new behavior.
…No one else in the world could read the prophecy as Jesus did, claiming complete and internal ownership of it. Luke implies that his hearers in the synagogue sensed the difference, inasmuch as “the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on him.”
…Like the preceding sign, this one involves no physical contact by Jesus. But we do detect another common trait appearing in both signs; namely, obedience to a command: “Fill the water jars with water” (John 2:7) and “Go your way” (4:50). Disobedience to these commands, we presume, would mean no miracle! Exactly the same traits—subtlety and obedience to command—characterize the third sign described by John, the healing of the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda.