Scripture Focus: Mark 4.37-41
37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Reflection: Faith After the Storm
By John Tillman
How tired Christ must have been to sleep during the storm.
Mark gives us the beautiful eyewitness detail of Christ asleep on a cushion. Jesus had healed and preached all day long. Then he had preached it all again to his disciples, who had heard the stories but, like the crowd, had difficulty understanding.
Jesus was so exhausted that the wildly rocking boat, the crashing waves, and even the boat filling up with water didn’t wake him. Jesus slept on in the midst of this terrible storm, until his shaken disciples shook him awake.
The disciples didn’t seem to wake Jesus expecting him to save them from the storm. They merely woke him to complain about his treatment of them. “Don’t you care that we are going to drown?” The drowning seems a foregone conclusion. There is no direct request, merely bitterness and accusation.
How often do we pray to Jesus without faith but with bucket-fulls of complaints and accusations?
Don’t you care? Why don’t you answer? What’s wrong with you?
After Jesus calms the storm, we expect the disciples’ fears to be as calm as the sea. Instead, they are even more terrified.
Jesus asleep on the cushion is a punching bag for our emotions. Asleep, he cannot dispute our complaints, our fears, or our version of events.
Jesus standing and commanding the storm is intimidating and disturbing. He is no longer someone we can shake awake and push around. Jesus is not a servile employee behind the desk of God’s complaint department. Instead, he can demand our service and command our compliance. His power and position cannot be debated or bargained with. His rebuke of the storm may rebuke us as well. “Quiet. Be still.” We may be as terrified by a Jesus who calms storms as we are by the storms themselves.
After the storm, Jesus says, “Do you still have no faith?”
Whatever degree of faith we have after the storm, Jesus is willing to do great things through us, as he did through the disciples. Like the disciples, we must contemplate the fearful question, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Spend some time meditating on this question. Who is this Jesus?
As you do, may the storms of your heart be stilled and calmed by Christ. The winds and waves listen to his rebukes. We can, too.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Bless our God, you peoples; make the voice of his praise to be heard;
Who holds our souls in life, and will not allow our feet to slip. — Psalm 66.9
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Proverbs 14 (Listen 3:45)
Mark 4 (Listen 5:01)
This Weekend’s Readings
Proverbs 15 (Listen 3:36), Mark 5 (Listen 5:21)
Proverbs 16 (Listen 3:15), Mark 6 (Listen 7:23)
Read more about Fear in the Boat
So we will suffer and make our way through together with Christ, looking always to him who is with us in the boat.
Read more about Supporting Our Work
Please consider becoming a donor. Support ad-free content that brings biblical devotionals to inboxes across the world.