Year B – Proper 7 – Mark 4:35–41

Mark 4:35–41 NRSV –    On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 4:36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 4:37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 4:38 But 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?” 4:39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 4:40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 4:41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Summary – In this remarkable episode in the ministry of Christ, the disciples and the Lord are on the Sea of Galilee in a small boat. In the previous chapter Christ had been pressed hard by many people and could hardly eat, let alone rest. Finally some peace and quiet in the back of the boat on a cushion. This body of water is known for sudden tempests and it seems that just as Jesus began sleeping soundly a tempest arose. The disciples were in panic mode but Jesus slept. He had no fear of the circumstances. Waking Him they cried out to Him. Famously Jesus calmed the wind and the waves with His command. The disciples were astonished at His power.

Insight – Have you ever been caught in a storm? Do you fear thunder and lightening? It really depends on where you are. If you are inside a nice home with no trees around then there’s nothing much to fear in a thunderstorm But if you are in a small sail boat that is taking on water, then fear is a natural response. But what do we do when we are afraid. A  children’s song by Steve Greene teaches a simple biblical truth, “When I am afraid I will trust in You, trust in You” (from Psalm 56:3). In this case the disciples were afraid, but they didn’t follow the wisdom of the Psalm and “trust in You.” Their fear did not lead to faith but to freaking out. Before Christ rebuked the storm, He rebuked the hearts of the disciples for their lack of faith. Keep in mind that Christ had performed many miracles before them already. God often uses fearful circumstances to reveal our true state of trust.

Catechism – What should you do when you are afraid? Trust in Him.

Discussion – What circumstances in your life make you afraid? How are you handling that fear?

Prayer – O Lord, you calmed the wind and waves with your word, now speak the word of “peace” to our hearts so that we may not live in a storm of fear arising from within. Grant that we may have your peace in our hearts as we trust in you through all the tempests of life, for you are the Master and Commander of all. In your name, Amen.