I don’t know how he does it? I’m sure this is one of the questions the disciples asked each other when referencing Jesus’ sleeping habits. It hasn’t been very long that the disciples have known Jesus, but what they do know makes them wonder… who is this guy?
If you work backwards from the end of Mark 4 and into the end of Mark 3, you’ll find Jesus awake most of the night selecting the the disciples who would follow him.
(SIDE NOTE: Jesus selected more than 12, but it was the 12 who would get to exclusively travel with him.) Starting early the next morning, Jesus once again begins to teach, this time on the edge of the lake. Since the crowd was so large, Jesus was forced to get into the boat, sit down, and preach from there.
So let’s put all this together:
- Jesus is up late, if not most of the night
- Jesus wakes up and begins to teach
- Jesus sits in a boat all day preaching
Mark 4:35-38 (NLT) 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.
No wonder Jesus was sleeping! Think about it from Jesus’ perspective; the only place he could find rest was in a boat, during a storm, with twelve other dudes! But his rest wouldn’t last long.
Mark 4:38-41 (NLT) …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!”
Sea of Galilee
Storms like this one described in Mark 4 were, and still are, very common on the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is an unusual body of water. It is relatively small (thirteen miles long, seven miles wide); but it is 150 feet deep, and the shoreline is 680 feet below sea level. Because the Sea of Galilee is below sea level and is surrounded by mountains, it is susceptible to sudden storms. Typically these storms don’t pop up at night, expect for tonight.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard many, “Calm in the midst of the Storm” Sermons; but I want to offer a different perspective. We know the disciples wake Jesus. We know that Jesus wakes up and speaks to the wind and the waves. We also know that this disciples are freaked out that Jesus can control nature. By the way… Only the Creature can control the creation. So we know these things, but here’s my question: What about the other boats?
He Did What?
Mark indicates that there were other boats that followed Jesus and his disciples. I think it’s safe to assume that they experienced the same storm, but the difference was they didn’t have the Messiah on board. Now, I’m not saying that because they didn’t have Jesus they all drowned and died, but I am advocating that their perspective would have been different.
They were in a boat, they were in the storm, they were trying to figure out where to go, and what to do, but then suddenly it stops. Everything stops; the wind, the waves, everything. Suddenly the Sea of Galilee was a sheet of glass and the others following in boats could hear Jesus talking to his disciples, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
I can only imagine the conversation between the disciples and the other travelers when they got to the other side of the lake.
“He did what?”
“Seriously, he got up and yelled at the storm, “Silence! Be still! (in their best Jesus voice)
Here’s my point: When you do go through life’s storms, remember, you’re not the only one watching. You have have an opportunity to tell others about how Jesus moved in your storm.