Sunday 24 June 2012

Bible Book:

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

Mark 4:35-41 Sunday 24 June 2012


"Who is this man?" is the question that comes over and overagain in the first half of Mark's Gospel. Jesus' authoritativeteaching, his power to heal and forgive sins, and now his abilityto invoke God's power in nature: all of these attract attention butare also profoundly puzzling. This is Mark's way of using dramaticirony. Readers of his Gospel who were already familiar with thestory of Jesus would already know that it ends by confirming thatJesus is indeed the Messiah, God's anointed, the Son of God.

The story describes a typical Galilee fishing boat, about eightmetres long. At the end of a day of preaching, Jesus falls asleepin the stern and does not waken even when a sudden storm springs upout of nowhere and threatens to swamp the boat. His calm trust iscontrasted with the rising panic in the disciples. While Jesus thelandlubber is unperturbed, the experienced fishermen, who ought toknow how to cope, are terrified. A word from Jesus is all that isneeded to bring calm, not only to the wind and waves, but also tothe hearts and minds of the disciples.

As modern readers we can often find it hard to deal with so-callednature miracles. This would not have been a problem for Mark'sfirst readers. For them, everything was ultimately under thecontrol of God and it was not at all surprising that there wererare and extraordinary events that showed God's power in anespecially clear way. This was not magic - the use of incantationsand ritual to manipulate events - but the sheer power of Godworking through one who was uniquely in tune with God's will. Manyearly Christians saw parallels with the story of Jonah (Jonah1), whose ship almost founded because he had turned his back onGod's will.

To Ponder

What storms do you and/or the Church face?

Where have you seen God's power at work to stillyour storms?

Who is Jesus for you at such moments?

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