Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. (Mark 4:36-39)
I have heard this account all of my life and it is one of my favorite. The part most people like best, me included, is Jesus’ apparent lack of concern for the safety of everyone. Not only was He asleep, but he was sleeping on a cushion. His nonchalant attitude seemed so uncharacteristic.
But one aspect of this miracle that escaped me, until someone pointed it out, was Jesus’ authority over nature. On the surface, you might think this is a bit of a no-brainer, since Jesus’ ability to stop the storm is the central event.
I didn’t actually overlook the miracle. What I missed was how Jesus’ interaction with nature tied in with His mission, and His kingdom kingship.
There are a couple of ways to look at nature’s response to Jesus. One is to see it as a force, carried along by processes put in place when the foundations of the universe were established. Certainly the storm on the sea was a “force” of nature.
However, there is more going on between the storm and Jesus than this. I believe the storm had a mind of its own. I don’t mean a mind in the human sense, with memory and self-actualized behavior. I an suggesting the storm, and other portions of nature, reacted with intentionality toward Jesus. Consider the darkness that enveloped the cross as Jesus was dying and the crow of the rooster as He was being led away from the Sanhedrin.
When the people praising Jesus during His triumphal entrance into Jerusalem were told to be quiet, Jesus said, “I tell you, if they remain quiet, the stones will cry out!” (Luke 19:40).
I don’t understand what nature understands, or even if nature is capable of understanding anything. I know there is a big difference between the way a pet responds to me, verses a tree leaf. But then a dog can’t proclaim the glory of God by changing colors in the fall.
My ramblings here may seem a bit eccentric. I guess what I am suggesting is that Jesus’ ability to calm the storm was greater than mere power over nature. I think the storm, in essence, bowed down before Him. Jesus didn’t just conquer the wind and the waves. They obeyed Him with a humility I can’t define or explain. Perhaps this is why Jesus spoke to the storm instead of just holding His hand up in the air.
I hope you don’t think I am personifying nature too much, or dabbling in some sort of mystical hocus-pocus where the things God created are raised to human status. It is nothing like that.
I just think when the Creator meets the created there is recognition, on whatever level is predefined in God’s plan. Do you think He told the storm to keep blowing until the disciples grew fearful enough to wake Him up? The possibilities are very, very intriguing.
Dear God, Your ways are amazing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.