Welcome back to We Wonder: Lent. Long ago, Jesus said to his friends, "Come: follow me." As we begin the second full week of Lent, we will keep following Jesus all the way through the gospel of Mark. Today, we are reading the very end of Mark 4, where Jesus surprises his friends again by showing God's power.
Mark 4:35-41 (NIRV)
Let's take a moment and imagine together the Sea of Galilee. We call it a sea, but it is really a very, very big lake. It is down low in a valley, and wind that blows in over the mountains can make big storms come up on the lake almost without warning. I wonder what the weather was like when Jesus and his disciples set out in the boat? I wonder if the water was calm and the evening was quiet when they pushed away from the shore?
In Jesus's time, many people were afraid of deep, dark waters. They couldn't see the bottom, and they didn't know what evil things might be swimming down deep. Can I imagine how the disciples must have felt when the wind picked up, the water got wild, and waves started crashing down on their boat?
Things seem to be happening very quickly in Mark's gospel: evil spirits suddenly recognize Jesus and must be cast out; religious leaders get angry and are already plotting to kill Jesus; a wild storm comes up out of nowhere on the sea. I wonder if Jesus's disciples are beginning to feel attacked by strong powers at this part of the story? I wonder if that is part of why they are so afraid?
I wonder why Jesus was able to sleep so peacefully during the storm?
When Jesus does wake up, he speaks to the storm like a frustrated parent sometimes speaks to a child: "Quiet down! Be still!" How does his voice sound to me, as he orders the wind and waves to stop?
Can I imagine standing on that wildly rocking boat, being splashed by heavy waves, and watching Jesus get up and speak to the storm? What feelings rush through my body when all at once the wind stops, and the water around us becomes calm?
After Jesus calms the storm down, he asks his disciples, "Why were you so afraid? Don't you have any faith?" I wonder what he means? After all, they had enough faith to wake him up! I wonder what kind of trust still needs to grow in them?
Only God can control deep water, wind, and storms, because God is the one who created them. What it is like for me to see the power of the Creator of the universe coming out of the mouth of this carpenter from Galilee? Is there anything I want to say to Jesus after hearing this story?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments from this story that I want to ask God about right now?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments from this story that I want to take with me and hold close?
Jesus of Nazareth, son of God: thank you that we have a book filled with your words and deeds. Give us the wisdom and understanding that comes from your Holy Spirit, so that we can know you better and follow you all the days of our lives. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
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