Mark 4:35-41 Jesus calms the storm
And now we face a critical question in the gospel of Mark. Who is Jesus?
After a long day of teaching the masses (in Parables) Jesus invites His disciples to “go across to the other side” (v. 35) of the sea. A pretty routine thing for a group of Galilean fisherman. But a great windstorm arose (which was not altogether unusual on the sea of Galilee) driving the waves crashing over the sides of the boat and quickly filling it with water (v. 37). This was a severe storm – even these experienced fishermen were terrified! All the while, Jesus is taking a nap (v. 38). ‘Jesus, what the heck!’ You can almost hear the fear in the voice of the disciples as they wake the Master: “we are perishing.”
Jesus’ response is to rebuke the wind (epetimesen – the same language used in His encounter with demons). To the sea, He says simply, “Peace! Be still!” …and there was a great calm (v. 39)!?! Jesus then scolds the disciples for their lack of faith (apparently fear and faith don’t go well together – v. 40). The disciples, still filled with great fear, ask the big question that governs the rest of Mark’s story:
“Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (v. 41)
The disciples have seen some pretty crazy stuff thus far in Mark’s narrative. But now Jesus’ commands even nature itself. They’ve walked with Him, talked with Him, touched Him, eaten with Him, learned from Him. But what kind of man commands a storm to be calmed and the sea to be still?
OK, so you and I know the end of the story. Therefore we know the “right answer” that Mark’s question begs – the response of faith: “He is the Christ, the Son of God.” But at this point in our story the disciples remain quite clueless. The answer lies a long ways off in the journey of our 12 friends – the followers of Jesus. If one can even imagine it, an even bigger miracle awaits at the conclusion of Mark’s gospel. Could it be that this Jesus can conquer even death itself? And, if so, what are the implications of this for us as His followers? The good news according to John Mark ends with yet another important question – the empty tomb! What happened to the body of Jesus?
If indeed Jesus casts out demons, commands nature, and yes, even rises from the dead, then I know one thing for sure – He is worthy of following!