“On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let’s go over to the other side.” Leaving the multitude, they took him with them, even as he was, in the boat. Other small boats were also with him. A big wind storm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so much that the boat was already filled. He himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion, and they woke him up, and told him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are dying?” He awoke, and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? How is it that you have no faith?” They were greatly afraid, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:35-41
In today’s Gospel reading we have Jesus in a boat sleeping during a storm. We’ve heard this text before. We often skim through it and think “There’s Jesus scolding them for their lack of faith, silly disciples don’t know that Jesus can calm the waves and sea?“. Yet, what is easy to skim over is why do the wind and seas obey Him?
Perhaps, this is just an allegory. Maybe the wind and the seas are allegories for our earthly problems and Jesus is telling us that we can speak to our problems and they will go away. What if my problems are more serious than a typical problem, am I to speak to my cancer and expect it to obey me? No? Why not? It wont work because no matter how much you like to think it, you, are not God. Or Perhaps this allegory means that Jesus will speak to our problems and make them go away. This would make Jesus a magic genie that grants you a happy peaceful fun life; this is the theology of glory. If this is the case then the Apostles got Him wrong. Who could imagine Peter crucified upside down saying “If I just believe enough Jesus will make this go away”? This isn’t the message of Scripture and this passage isn’t an allegory.
In proper exegesis we can see that this, in its context, is not allegory, but an actual event in history. Jesus, God in the flesh, foresaw this storm coming, or perhaps created the storm to test them, and He went to sleep. After much panic He is awoken and told (Διδάσκαλε, οὐ μέλει σοι ὅτι ἀπολλύμεθα) “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” They call Him teacher Διδάσκαλε; They do indeed lack faith, for this is not just a teacher, but God in the flesh. He then spoke to the wind and water and it obeyed. What follows is the greatest question that we can ask any one who doubts the divine nature of Jesus.
(Τίς ἄρα οὗτός ἐστιν, ὅτι καὶ ὁ ἄνεμος καὶ ἡ θάλασσα ὑπακούει αὐτῷ;) “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Who is this that can speak Words and the Words create? Who is this that can control nature with His Words?
I Am (אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה) The LORD God of your fathers the God of Abraham the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob (יְהוָ֞ה אֱלֹהֵ֣י אֲבֹתֵיכֶ֗ם אֱלֹהֵ֨י אַבְרָהָ֜ם אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִצְחָ֛ק וֵאלֹהֵ֥י יַעֲקֹ֖ב)
Jesus is the I AM, the eternal God, The One who Speaks and creates from nothing:
(וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֖ים יְהִ֣י אֹ֑ור וַֽיְהִי־אֹֽור׃) “And said God let there be light and there was light” Gen 1:3
How often do we stop and ponder Who is this? How often do we read this as just another story, old news, or as some do, as fake news? There is nothing fake about a God-man who can speak to creation and have it obey Him. No, because this God-man raised Himself up three days after being whipped, crucified, died, pierced and buried. ( ἐξουσίαν ἔχω πάλιν λαβεῖν αὐτήν· ταύτην) “I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” John 10:18. According to the writings of antiquity, or how we know what we know about history, there is more proof of the resurrection than any other event in ancient history.
The Christ, the Son of Man, is the I AM. This very creating Word is what you have in your home; Scripture. It’s what is read today in the congregation. This Word gives faith (Romans 10:17), this faith comes as a gift (Eph 2: 8-9) and it brings life because without it we are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1). We are forgiven because the I AM lived a perfect life in human flesh, suffered His entire life in the state of humiliation, and took the ultimate punishment, the wrath against sin was poured out on Himself. He was pierced and slain for your sin and rose from the grave for your justification. How does this event that happened 2,000 years ago get to you today? Through the life-giving Word that is active and living (Heb 4:12).
“And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged”. – John 8-11
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, was slain for our sins, rose from the grave, and will come back to judge you, not guilty. Why? Not for anything you have done, not for anything you will do. He has paid it all for you and has sent the Spirit to bring you to repentance (contrition and faith). The Spirit is sent to convict you of your sins and give you this faith as a gift and since it is a gift you do nothing for it. Since you do nothing, since the I AM did it all for you, since He speaks life into you and gives you all you need for salvation, you can go in peace, your sins are forgiven.