Red Letter Year: 1/18

Mark 4:35-41

35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.

38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”


Such a powerful, vivid story. I really hope more than anything, the picture of this story sticks in your head today. I grew up in and around boats. Both my dad and grandpa did a lot of fishing. We would spend a good bit of time each summer at a fishing cabin in Keaton, FL, fishing the Gulf of Mexico everyday. Sometimes storms would come up, but dad and grandpa never seemed worried, just annoyed at the inconvenience.

Except this one time. There was one time when a nasty looking storm came up fast and the engine acted up. They seemed concerned then. Which was a big deal. Every year (it seemed) someone in that area would die out in the Gulf. Grandpa and dad always seemed to brush those incidents off as people who didn’t know what they were doing. But there we were getting towed into the canal by Uncle Emerson’s boat and all the men seemed concerned. No one was shouting about drowning or anything, but I remember how it felt when their usual confidence on the water blew away in the wind blowing that storm up.

But Jesus was exhausted. He had taught and healed all day, after probably getting up very early to pray and be alone with the Father. If you’re tired enough, you can sleep through almost anything (trust me, I have two teenagers and two under the age of 4). The disciples woke him up, not to do what he did, but just to help bail water and join in the general freak out. I personally imagine Jesus speaking to the storm in a you-just-woke-me-out-of-a-deep-sleep grumpy voice, so a better translation might be, “Shut up! Knock it off!” I then imagine he half-mumbled his questions to the disciples as he was laying back down and adjusting his pillow, just before going back to sleep, gently rocked by the diminishing waves left by the dissipated storm. I find it interesting (and more than a bit amusing) that he calms the storm but not their panic. They were afraid before they woke him up, after they were absolutely terrified.

Anyway, this is how I picture it. Meditate on it and come up with your own picture. Let the Spirit use that mental picture to give you assurance in the storms of your own life. He still calms storms. Even better, there’s room on his pillow to sleep through them.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.