Thursday, February 26, 2015

The stilling of a storm

2.26.2015 Thursday of Lent 1   

Mark 4:21-41 Parables concerning the Kingdom, the stilling of a storm
 Jesus Sleeps During a Storm

Jesus tells two parables concerning the kingdom. These two parables of the kingdom of God give insight into the mystery of the kingdom hidden to outsiders but revealed to the disciples. The first parable of the secret growing points to the growth of the kingdom. The kingdom of God had not yet arrived but it is in control of things and is in the process of being fulfilled through the ministry of the church. The second parable stresses contrast between the smallness of the see and the ultimate greatness of the kingdom. The kingdom of God began in the smallest way of Jesus’ ministry but one day it will embrace the earth.[2]

When Jesus completes His teaching with parables, He and His disciples cross the Sea of Galilee to minister to Gentiles. A storm threatens to drown them while Jesus, exhausted from His work and at peace with God an Himself sleeps in the boat. They awaken Jesus and accuse Him of not caring. Not caring if they perish. Jesus tells the winds and the water to be still. A great calm follows. Then Jesus asks them why they were afraid and where their faith was. Filled with awe, they ask, “Who then is this?” The disciples failed to grasp the nature of Jesus and His work.

How soundly Jesus must have slept! Can you imagine anyone sleeping when waves toss the boat around like a cork, with water splashing into the boat, and twelve men scampering and yelling in fear of drowning? His sleeping indicates how worn out Jesus was from His constant ministering, but it also indicates His complete relaxation resulting from His faith in God’s providence and protection. It was not the sleep of a Jonah who used sleep as an escape from reality. Jesus’ sleep was one of perfect trust in the Father’s care.[3]

Early Christians would remember this event when facing opposition and persecution. When you bear the cross, for being Christian remember how Christ came to the rescue of His early disciples. Affliction and difficulty often find us. When these troubles times come the Lord will use these circumstances to draw us closer to Himself and in the end strengthen our faith. (see Hebrews 12:5-11) Daily His grace is sufficient for the day. When you find yourself in great peril, trust in his grace and forgiveness. 1 John 1:7

Strengthen us, O Lord, by your grace, that in your might we may overcome all spiritual enemies, and with pure hearts serve you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.[4]

[1] Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
[2] Lectionary Preaching Workbook, Series B John Brokhoff, pg.197, © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH
[3] Lectionary Preaching Workbook, Series B John Brokhoff, pp. 202-203, © 1991 CSS Publishing, Lima OH
[4] Collect for Thursday of Lent 1,

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