devotion, 7-14-14

Mark 4:33 – 41

33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ 36And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ 39He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ 41And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’

Mark summarizes the section of parables, saying that Jesus taught with many parables – as that was what the people were able to hear. For the disciples he then explained everything in private. The summary prepares us for a new section – and the transition occurs in the next sentence, as Mark gives us a setting (evening, beside the lake), and goes on to say they left the crowds behind.

This next section is one I thought of when on a boat on the Sea of Galilee – in fact, in May, when we were there, about 300 United Methodists and friends from Florida, we were in a number of boats, which were all tied together. (In the Keys that is called a “raft-up”.) Bishop Ken Carter preached on this passage from a central boat. It was an incredible experience!

Jesus said to the disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side.” They all got into boats – the passage says other boats were with them. But as darkness fell, the wind roared down the pass onto the sea, and a great storm came up. Jesus, exhausted, had fallen asleep on a cushion in the stern, and was not bothered by the storm, even when the little boat began taking on water. The disciples, however, began to panic – it was a terrific storm and they were fearful that they would drown! They woke Jesus, it seems from the scripture, that they woke him just to make sure he actually cared if they drowned! At least that was what they said, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” In hard times, we want our friends to care what happens to us!

But of course, Jesus does care! He stood and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” and at once the storm ceased. And Jesus asked them why they were afraid, where was their faith? And the disciples were amazed, asking one another, “Who is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Several lessons to take from this:

  1. We want to make sure we are in the boat with Jesus! He cannot calm our storm if we are not in the boat with him.
  2. What do we fear? – even if the storm overwhelms us, we can be at peace in our souls. At the end of the Bishop’s message we sang together the hymn, “It is well with my soul.” He told the story of that hymn – if ever anyone had reason to despair, it was this author.
  3. Jesus does care.
  4. There is only one who has the power to calm the storms in our lives – he is right there; we have simply to call on him!

Pictures attached from the Sea of Galilee. (If you are reading on the Web Page, I apologize; I have not figured out how to get the photos to come through there. photo 1 is boats tied together, listening to Bishop Carter, who is not visible in the pic; #2 is the boats as we came out of the cluster.)

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