In Focus: The Calm Before the Storm (Mark 4)

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This week we will bring In Focus the story of Jesus calming the storm. First, however, I believe it is important to look back at what led up to the event. There is so much that is odd about this story and so a little background might help bring things into focus. It doesn't seem to work to just begin with Jesus saying "Let us go over to the other side." What was happening at this point? For this...focus up a bit to the beginning of Mark 4.

1Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge. -Mark 4:1

The verse begins with the word "again" which automatically should take us to the preceding passages for us to see what is being repeated again. For the sake of staying In Focus, keep your Bible on Chapter 4 and let me tell you what had happened. In Chapter 3 Jesus healed a man in the synagogue on the Sabbath, he taught a massive crowd on the lake's edge, , He calls the 12 disciples, He is crowded into a house and accused of being possessed by the prince of demons.

So we see at the beginning of Chapter 4 that Jesus "again" is teaching down by the lake. The important thing to understand is that we are not just talking about a small public park down by a small community lake. Here is a photo of the shoreline where Jesus arrived after the storm. The Sea of Galilee is over 12 miles long north to south and over 7 miles wide at its widest. Big lake.

People from all over the region had come to hear him speak and many, hundreds possibly thousands had come to be healed. They pressed so hard that the disciples thought it best for Jesus to speak from a boat on the lake's edge. It is from this point that we hear Jesus give us words of life. He speaks many parables before he turns to the disciples and points across the lake toward a place called the region of the Gerasenes and says "Let us go over to the other side."

This was a typical day in the life of Jesus. Exhausting. So as they set out to sea, Jesus found a place in the stern of the boat out of the way and he laid down on a cushion. Completely fatigued, Jesus crashed and was out cold for the trip. His disciples, most professional fisherman, had the boat travel completely under control...or so we thought.

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