In Focus: Jesus' Stormy Siesta (Mark 4:38)

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Hopefully by now you've been able to catch a glimpse of what those small boats must have looked like bouncing in those waves as the sun disappeared and darkness crept across the land. As the winds and clouds pounded the lake, the boats were all but lost at sea...and Jesus slept. Let's head back to the text and see exactly what it says.

"Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion." Mark 4:38a

When we hear that Jesus was asleep in such a storm, it seems impossible! Waves that bounced the boat back and forth across the waves apparently were pounding over the side of the boat and all over the passengers. The boat was filling up with water. How could ANYbody sleep through that. Before we even look at the spiritual aspect of this situation, look at how this boat would have been constructed. To the right is a model of a first century fishing boat.

Notice the platforms at both ends of the boat. It is from the platform at the stern (or the back) of the boat that the ships captain would guide the boat. There was space underneath these platforms for items to be stored, the catch of the day to be hauled, and in this case for Jesus to rest. More than likely, he positioned himself underneath the captain's deck to rest for the duration of the trip. He would have been out of the foreseen elements and able to be comfortable. Remember when He asked them to leave, they did so immediately taking Him "as He was." The cushion was likely the cushion used by the captain when sleeping on his vessel.

There is a spiritual aspect to this situation of course. Even as the storm arose, Christ did not stir from His sleep. He had given the command that they must cross over to the other side. He was not concerned even in the middle of the "furious squall" that their journey would fail. His peace was not disturbed.

On the other hand, the people in the boat, feared greatly for their lives. They couldn't see beyond the immediate danger. The situation consumed them and fear controlled them. Fortunately, in their moment of weak faith, they knew who to turn to. Without hesitation, they lowered themselves underneath the stern platform and found Jesus. Even as he slept in peace, they had no thought about waking Him.

Then again, they let the fear control even their tongue by asking the question "“Teacher, don't you care if we drown?”

Really? What a question to ask the Master. I'm not saying I wouldn't have asked it too. All I am saying is that looking back on the situation as the disciples must have done too, it seems like a silly question.

Jesus wakes up and well...that is a whole post unto itself!

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