Text: Mark 4:35-41
Jesus calms the Sea
Compared to the other Gospel writers, Mark wrote less about Jesus’ teachings. Despite this, he does not hesitate to apply the words teacher, teach, and Rabbi frequently. In a departure from the norm, Mark emphasizes more of what Jesus did than what he said.
Some readers might get caught up in Mark’s details about the wind and the waves and miss an important point. It’s in verse 36: “Leaving the crowd behind, they took Him [Jesus] along, just as He was, in the boat.”
Just as He was. These seemingly insignificant words speak volumes. They reveal that there was exhaustion that followed a long day. End-of-the-day exhaustion, familiar to many of us, is Mark’s way of pointing to Jesus’ humanity and in the verses that follow, His deity.
Here was Jesus, true man, tired out from the day’s hard work, sound asleep in the stern of a boat with his head on a pillow. The storm did not bother Him in the least. Even though His humanity was being portrayed by Mark, it’s important to remember that at the same time He we sleeping He held in His hands all the powers of nature. Had the disciples forgotten that?
Concerned about themselves, they woke Jesus from His sleep and asked the same question that many of us have also asked of God, “Don’t you care” What Jesus did next reveals the compassionate side of our Savior. He got up, rebuked the wind and told the sea to be quiet. Then, there was great quietness. The boat, that moments ago was hurling through the waves, was now sailing on water with a mirror-like surface.
Then, He seized moment (as any teacher would) by some follow-up questions about what had just happened. Jesus knew that their trust in Him, their confidence in His almighty power, was still very weak and uncertain. He had just performed a miracle in front of their eyes that should have increased their faith in His deity. Yet, they still had no faith.
From inside a common fishing vessel, Jesus, Lord of the universe, the almighty God, possessor of divine glory and majesty, governed heaven and earth, land and sea. As He did then, He does now. He uses that same divine power to calm our fears and quell the storms in our lives. That is the comfort of this story. Thanks, Mark.
Heavenly Father, calm our fears and quell the storms in our lives. Help us to rest in your peace, knowing that you, the Lord of the Universe care about us deeply and passionately. We know you watch over us and neither slumber nor sleep. We, however, can sleep peacefully knowing that you protect us. -Amen
~ Chris Wethman
Lay Minister of Administration
 His head was on a pillow used by a boat’s helmsman to rest his head when a ship followed helm without difficulty.