<< Mark IV: Calming the Winds and Waves >>
IF we stood by the Sea of Galilee on a calm bright morning when the water was smooth and shining and the little waves washed gently on the stones, we should hardly believe that within an hour the peaceful lake might be covered with stormy white-capped waves. We step into the fishing-boat moored by the shore, and the fishermen row slowly out into the lake with their heavy oars; but soon a fresh breeze rises.
They put up their mast and spread their three cornered sail, and one or two of the men guide the boat, while the rest lie down to sleep. But soon they are aroused, for the wind has become a storm and the waves are high. Such sudden windstorms are common on the Sea of Galilee. The lake lies deep among the hills, and the winds which sweep over the country come down, through the valleys upon the water in dangerous squalls.
The Lord had been teaching the people in parables. He was sitting in a boat and they were gathered on the Gennesaret shore. It was now evening, and they sent the people away, and turned the boat to cross over the sea. We must read what happened as they sailed.
And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful ? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?— Mark IV. 35~41.
Author: William L. Worcester 1904
The Sea, with its atmosphere of cold, heavy water >> A natural, worldly state of mind
Storm of Wind >> Evil spiritual influences which arouse the evil in ourselves
The Lord being asleep and seeming not to care if the disciples perished >> In times of excitement and temptation the Lord seems far away, and to have forgotten us.
He arose >> In temptations He is nearer than at other times, more near than we can know or believe
The Lord's calming the winds and waves >> He had conquered the worldly nature in Himself, and the influences from hell which aroused that nature
Passing over to the other side, "there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves; but He was asleep." He was going to the plane of natural enjoyment and upbuilding, now occupied by swine and lovers of swine. He was about to cast out the greed for self which naturally possesses that part of the mind, and bring instead a peaceful, orderly enjoyment in the good and beautiful things of nature and of truth, which serve for illustration, delight, and support to an orderly life from God. The tumultuous resistance of the natural loves was imaged by the tempest in the sea; the apparent absence of Divine care and control of natural enjoyments, by His sleeping; but the new sense of His presence and power in this outward life, by His awaking, and rebuking the waves and the sea. His absolute power to subdue and control the disorderly appetites of the body, was both manifested and represented by His casting out the many devils ; which took on their true form when they entered into the swine, and then rushed down into the sea, which was a representative of their hell.
Would that that whole domain of the mind would love to sit at the feet of Jesus clothed and in its right mind, a clean and orderly support to good life from the Lord in man, and hanker no more after the swine ! With all who sincerely desire it, this will be the case when the body is put off. (Author: John Worchester, 1898. Matthew's Gospel.)
Pictures: James Tissot ----Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum