Second Sunday After Pentecost

by Crossings

The Perfect Savior For The Storm
Mark 4:35-41
Proper 7 (Second Sunday After Pentecost)
Analysis by Michael Hoy

35On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”


Step 1-Initial Diagnosis: In the midst of the awe-ful storm
Somebody once said that talking about the weather is more than idle chit-chat. It is awareness of the whirlwinds, perhaps unnamed and beyond our control. Having Jesus on board, “just as he was” all along (v. 36), does not mean that one is thereby spared from storms (v. 37). The storms rage on, sometimes seemingly out of control. Being one of Jesus’ followers not only does not exempt one from the storms. In fact, it may open up whole storm-fronts to be encountered, some of which may be quite awe-ful indeed. But no one gets through life without encountering the storms, in all their deadly consequence.

Step 2-Advanced Diagnosis: No Faith
The daily storms of life are frightening enough to lead one to reckless behavior. The shipmates of Jesus find it troublesome that Jesus is sleeping at a time like this, so they rebuke him. They are so far removed from faith that they cannot behold faith’s power in the midst of the storm-trusting that God has everything in hand. But when Jesus exercises his power over the wind and the waves, then they are even more terrified. “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” The same One who questions our fear and our lack of faith.

Step 3-Final Diagnosis: Perishing
Now comes the toll greater than the sea. For it is not only going under to the waters of the deep that may cover us over in death, but even the God whom we have not trusted. What is seemingly out of control, as Job discovered — and as these shipmates in Mark’s gospel — is only seemingly. How awe-ful, indeed!


Step 4-Initial Prognosis: Peace! Be still!
Consider, though, how the fear-ful question of the shipmates is answered by the One in their midst. His first response is to still the storm. “Peace! Be still!” And how much tranquillity does he bring? Not only are the external storms rendered harmless, but more importantly, the BIG storm-front — our storm-front with God — is overcome. The storm clouds would come again in Mark’s gospel, at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion (15:33). Jesus himself would be abandoned to the Storm, and it would swamp him. But for us, there is the promise that our fate will be stilled. Peace will prevail.

Step 5-Advanced Prognosis: Filled with faith
There is, then, in this peace in-stilling Lord an occasion to ask the question again, this time in the smile of faith (not the terror of fear): “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?!” Indeed, it may overcome us with so much giddiness that even we may fall asleep in laughter, laughing at the storm despite its havoc.

Step 6-Final Prognosis: Others in our midst
And who knows what others may hear our laughter from among those “other boats [which are] with him” (v. 36). It hearkens to the calm of the psalm for the day: “Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the mighty waters; they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep” (Ps. 107:23-24). We’ve been drowned before-in baptism. Now we really get to live!


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