21 June 2015

Mark 4:35-41

“Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?” (v. 41)

Psalm: Psalm 107


Memorable events in Jesus's ministry occurred in Galilee, which is around 100 miles north of Jerusalem, and the Sea of Galilee - a large inland lake. Jesus's first disciples included fishermen, and they worked the lake which also provided the means of travel to the opposite shore.

Today's passage is a brief account of a well-known nature miracle of Jesus - along with other healing miracles they say something of the authority of Jesus. There are some fascinating parts to the story. Other boats set out on the voyage (verse 36), but are not mentioned again. Despite some of the disciples being experienced fishermen, they were frightened and seem somewhat taken aback by the storm, which was not an unusual event on the lake.

Take note, though, of Jesus's behaviour: he is asleep, apparently untroubled by the conditions. However, when he is woken by the terrified disciples, his words and actions bring an immediate calm to the situation. Some commentators have suggested that this story was retold by Mark to reassure Christians at a time when persecution was rocking the young Church. More importantly, Mark uses it to announce something about Jesus, that even the wind and the sea obey him.

There are passages in the Old Testament which speak of the power of the sea, eg in Psalm 107:23-32 where people cry to God and God made the storm be still. Our passage today speaks of Jesus having such power over the forces of nature, and over the troubles encountered by his followers, to bring peace - and a sense of wonder.

To Ponder

  • Can you recall any times when you have felt that God was asleep? What did it feel like?
  • What could it mean to you to know that Jesus could calm storms in your life?

Bible notes author

The Revd Stephen Burgess

Revd Stephen Burgess is chair of the York & Hull District of the Methodist Church. He initially trained as a chemist and after some years in industry and teaching served in two school chaplaincy appointments before becoming superintendent of the Cambridge Circuit and then moving to Yorkshire.