The disciples are intrigued by who Jesus is. They have left families, vocations, friends, hometowns, all to follow this man. This man who they have seen heal the blind, the lame, even the dead. This man who has spoken with such authority that crowds flock to him and the religious leaders of the day become incensed by his teaching.
But now they’re on the sea. Crossing over to the other side. And a storm comes up unlike anything they’ve seen. Many of these disciples of Jesus are fishermen by trade. They had seen swells and waves. But nothing like this. This is causing them to fear for their life.
Who is going to rescue them?
They scan the boat through the torrential downpour, looking for this man who seemed to have nature bent to his will. They fret as they fail to find him, but alas they finally do. What they find doesn’t instill much confidence or security. They find Jesus asleep in the boat.
A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?” He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Then he said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this?Even the wind and the sea obey him!” – Mark 4:35-41
The storm ceased.
In a moment.
This man they referred to as teacher was clearly more than that.
He calmed the wind and waves.
He was walking around like He made the place.
Recently I’ve been thinking about this passage quite a bit. The great pun that I titled this post after came from a chapter in Jared Wilson’s book The Wonder-Working God. I wish I could claim it as my own, but I can’t.
This morning I read Genesis 1. Trying to get the year started off on the right foot, you know. As I was journaling about it and studying it, verse two kept leaping off the page.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depth, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. – Genesis 1:2
When we remember that Scripture is one major narrative played out over sixty-six books, we are able to see themes that run all throughout the story. Here’s one such theme that and that I’ve begun to see more and more in Scripture.
The seas are symbolically used to characterize chaos and disorder. They are almost seen as a symbol of evil, since they have historically housed much that we can not see. Much of the literal oceans of the world are unexplored. In ancient literature, these unexplored seas housed evil.
For instance, Revelation 13 has the Beast (a figurative, non-literal symbol of evil) rise up out of where? The seas.
With that in mind, the first chapter of Genesis is stinking beautiful. God brings order from chaos. Remember, the book of Genesis is not a science book. It was never written to give us a scientific understanding of how the world was created and how it functions today. The book of Genesis was written to remind the people of God of the promises of God, the faithfulness of God, and the creative nature of God.
The world is produced, filled, and formed by the God of the Bible.
I have been created, redeemed, and made perfect by the God of the Bible.
That is what Genesis is about.
With that in mind, the first chapter of Genesis is likely included in the Bible to remind us as God’s people that God brings order out of chaos. Not only that, but He makes everything good.
The cosmos before creation are described symbolically as a sea, as watery depths (see the verse above). And out of seeming chaos and disorder, God brings the ordered world into being.
I think that’s powerful. And beautiful.
When you then fast-forward to this story in Mark, you should be struck with what is truly being said here. This is not a cute little story to tell children in Sunday school. This is a provocative and powerful truth.
Jesus is not just a teacher, even though the disciples first refer to Him as such.
He tells a chaotic and disorderly sea to be still.
And the disciples are in speechless awe and fear. Who is this man, that wind and sea obey Him?
Who is this man that did the very thing that God the Father did way back in Genesis 1? They knew the stories. God the Father brought order out of chaos (interestingly enough, He did so through the Son and the Spirit).
This man is no man.
He is God Himself.
That gives me chills.
Church, we live in a chaotic world. I woke up on a new year to the same stories of violence and unease. This year ahead may hold a lot of uncertainties for you. It does for me. Let us rest in the presence of the One who made the place.
In His Name,
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