Reading Scripture: Mark 4:35-41

Today we move beyond the parables wth the stilling of a storm in Mark 4:35-41.

I imagine that this story is not the beginning of the next chapter due to Mark’s connections of everything with, “immediately” or “then this happened.”

I wonder why after using the term sea to reference the Sea of Galilee all this time, in this particular quote Jesus calls it a lake. As it turns out, the word lake is no in the Greek but was added in this translation for clarity. One would have thought they would have used the consistent word “sea.”

And other boats were with him likely shows that it took more than one boat to take all of the disciples across the water with him.

Suddenly a great windstorm occurred. This is actually evidence that this story does belong on the Sea of Galilee, for its location both below sea level and in the midst of hills has proven over the years to be quite susceptible to such storms. To this day the sudden storminess of the Sea of Galilee is well known.

Now, for the amazing part. They wake Jesus up cuz they are understandably freaking out. Jesus, all calm says, “Hey! Cut it out!” and the storm is like, “Oh, sorry Jesus, didn’t know it was you, buddy!” Then the disciples commenced with a different type of freaking out. Just imagine being among the waves depicted below, because it is a photo of the waves of the Sea of Galilee.

Waves crashing on the sea of galilee

Interestingly, Jesus rebukes the disciples for not having faith. The question is, faith in what? Also, would a Jesus that knows everything be surprised at their lack of faith in whatever it was? Perhaps Jesus was simply grumpy after being awoken from his nap, but from the story, he was likely underwater if he was lying at the back of the boat.

Another interesting thing is this story’s direct parallel to Psalm 107:23-30. What Jesus does here is exactly what God did for those sailors. Given the known historical trend of assigning to individuals, particularly legendary individuals, the acts and deeds of other and older legendary individuals, maybe this didn’t actually happen but was told as a means of associating Jesus with God? Or, perhaps something close or similar happened, and the authors in their remembrance fashioned it to line up perfectly with the Psalms account? I’m can’t say it didn’t happen, but I can say that something feels off about this coincidence. It would be like your friend telling you about something that happened to them over vacation, but you recognize the story from an old film you once saw. It could be a coincidence… but what are the odds?

Does this indicate that Jesus is God? If we were to isolate this incident? Maybe. I mean, if someone did this standing next to me I would definitely look twice at them. However, I think it’s more a declaration of where the authority of Jesus comes from.

Whether it happened or not, the primary purpose seems to be to showcase that Jesus once again demands authority over something unbelievable. The wind and water. If you recall, before the parable section Mark spent a lot of time showing that Jesus had the authority to speak of scripture, to forgive sins, to exorcise and heal without ritual. These are all things that normal Jewish culture provided, but Jesus was able to do them outside of the culture’s given authority.

This event, though, is something completely different. This is the weather, something that no human had authority over. I think this story is establishing that Jesus wields the authority of God even more so than the previous tales. I’m going to a give a spoiler of something Jesus says later that I feel we should all keep in mind when we stand in awe of the authority he wielded. John 14:12 – “I tell you the solemn truth, the person who believes in me will perform the miraculous deeds that I am doing, and will perform greater deeds than these.”

So, unless Jesus is saying that we are all God, this would imply that what Jesus did was not because he was God, but because he wielded the authority of God. An authority that we can all share if we choose to follow his teachings. I hope we find out more about this potential as we read on!

Grace and Peace to you all.

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