MARK 4:35-41

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

Kimberly Beyer-Nelson

Focusing Scripture:  Mark 4:35-41 New International Version (NIV) 

Jesus Calms the Storm

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” 

Julian of Norwich once said, “And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” Each phrase calls us down into the root of the storm, which lies deeper than the weather, the waves and sleeplessness, and points us directly to the state of our minds. Julian would have been comfortable with the Jesus of this passage, sleeping in the rocking ship, riding the waves and wind of consciousness with the ease of a child. 

And when he is awakened from his rest by the fearful disciples, he shows them how he works with mind, how he chooses to face the riot of wave-thoughts and wind-words, not with anger or resistance or fear, but with firm resolve born of confidence in the I AM. But notice, he demonstrates his method out of compassion for their fear, not out of his own. 

And this is terrifying to the disciples, more terrifying in the end than the wind and waves of consciousness. Buddha was also approached on the road once by a wide-eyed traveler who asked if he was a ghost or an angel or even a god. And Buddha replied simply, “I am awake.” 

In this case, the message beneath the water and wind shows the disciples are not so much terrified of Jesus, but of what he is asking them in turn to exemplify. It is one thing to turn again and again to an outside source for our comfort, but quite another to know that you, yourself, are that comfort. This understanding does require faith, and Jesus once again asks them why they seem to have none. He is pointing back at their highest selves, their connection to the I AM, but they are still only able to see his finger, not that which he trying to call them to. 

What he is still calling all of us to.