As we journey through the Witness of Mark, we want to encourage you to first begin with the Daily Reading that will take you through the entire book of Mark. Then, read the First 15 Scripture and Reflection to dive a little deeper into verses from the Daily Reading.
Today's daily reading is: Mark 4:35-41
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
In 1989, Michael Keaton starred in the blockbuster film Batman, bringing one of my favorite comic book heroes to the theater. Early in the film, Batman entangles himself with a gang of street thugs, interrupting a crime in progress. Mysteriously shrouded in cowl and cape, Batman terrifies his foes. They have never seen anything like him. He grabs one henchman by the collar and lifts him from the ground. With a tremor in his voice, the crook says, “Who? What are you?” Batman pulls his foe near and with a gravelly growl says, “I’m Batman.”
All three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) tell us a story of terror, fright, and a hero on a dark night. It is the story of Jesus calming the storm. Mark says one evening Jesus and his disciples got into a boat with the intention of crossing over the Sea of Galilee. They wanted to get away from the crowd. But a squall, or an intense and unforeseen storm, suddenly came upon them. The waves were so large that the boat was nearly overwhelmed. Some in Jesus’ crew were experienced fishermen. They had seen storms before. But they were afraid.
Mark tells us that during the storm Jesus was “in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.” He must have been incredibly exhausted. Not knowing what to do, the disciples went to Jesus and shook him awake. The disciples could have kept things simple and direct, saying, “Help!” But instead, they said, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Jesus got up, “rebuked the wind,” and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still.” His word had a great effect. The winds died down. The water became completely calm.
Jesus turned to the disciples. He said, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” It appears to be a non-sequitur. It is not. If they knew who they were sailing with, how he cared for them, and what he was capable of, they would’ve approached him differently, and he would have gladly helped.
As they sailed among the still waters, the disciples broke the silence and asked one another, “Who is this?” They exclaimed, “Even the wind and the waves obey him!” They had already witnessed his power over demons and disease. Now, the creation bowed before him. “Who is this?”
Perhaps one disciple remembered Psalm 89:9, “You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them.” Or another quoted Psalm 107:29, “He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.” Perhaps another recalled the story of God’s deliverance at the Red Sea, when the hand of God parted the waters, or when the Jordan River ceased its flow so Israel could cross into the Promised Land. “Who is this?”
Whether the waters surrounding you are calm or tumultuous, placid or treacherous, remember who is with you, remember who it is. It is Jesus, God’s Messiah, who is mighty to save. His presence assures you, his help is available to you, his word delivers you. “Who is this?”
It is Jesus. Our Messiah, Savior, Teacher, Redeemer, Deliverer, King, and Friend.
Lord Jesus, with a word you can calm every storm. Help me to see and to remember who you are. Make your Lordship real to me, and deepen my trust in you. Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.