Sundays on Mark (11)

Continuing our simple Sunday reflections on Mark’s gospel

This week Mark 4:35-41 and the Calming of the Storm

After a busy and likely exhausting day of teaching and debate, Jesus seeks quietness and space from the pressing crowd as night draws in. Tiredness leads to immediate sleep in the boat. The lake is big and open to winds, the sudden squall is fierce and obviously dangerous.

Mark’s laconic story telling again tells of the casual, breathtaking authority of Jesus. The calming of the storm is a first of all a christological miracle. Mark’s trademark irony should not be missed – Jesus asks them why they were afraid, yet his actions lead them to be terrified not of the storm but of him. Their witnessing of the  ‘brute fact’ of Jesus’ power forces the inevitable and appropriate question – who is this?

This is beautifully constructed storytelling with a theological intent. Mark’s answer to the disciples’ question is being unfolded gradually piece by piece.

PRAYER: Almighty God, we worship you as ruler and creator of all things, far beyond our imagination in your power and unlimited goodness. We give thanks that you choose reveal your glory in ways that we can understand and we rejoice that, through your son Jesus Christ, you graciously allow us to call you Father. Amen.

Jesus Calms the Storm

35That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

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