Knee Jerk Devotional: January 22, 2021

Mark 4:35-41


Late that day he said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side.” They took him in the boat as he was. Other boats came along. A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?”

Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples: “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?”

They were in absolute awe, staggered. “Who is this, anyway?” they asked. “Wind and sea at his beck and call!”

I have long wrestled with this story. In so many ways it has felt like Jesus was just a bit mean to the guys. These kinds of storms rise up out of nowhere on the Sea of Galilee. People still drown in them to this day. Some of these guys were practiced fishermen and they knew the danger that they were in.

And what was Jesus doing? Sleeping.

So, first, let’s be really clear here, taking a nap is sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do. When you’re in the midst of the storm you need to sleep and rest. Sleep allows you to recharge and renew physically. There are more and more studies coming out on the necessity and importance of sleep. Don’t overlook Jesus’ sleeping as something insignificant. Take a nap fam!

This story feels familiar. I think it’s because it shares so many similarities to the story of Jonah. The critical difference is that Jonah caused the storm to rage and Jesus causes the storm to cease.

But, still what gets me is the response of Jesus. “Don’t you have any faith at all?” This is a pretty harsh rebuke. They really thought they were going to die and Jesus was just sleeping. I want to ask, “What’s the deal Jesus?”

Now that I’m a parent I wonder if the frustration on Jesus part is the way they approached him. ““Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?” These guys are basically accusing Jesus of not caring whether they live or die. They leave him be until they are in dire straits and then wake him and ask why he doesn’t care.

What would have happened if the moment the storm came up they said, “Jesus, can you help?” My hunch is, these guys thought, “We can do this on our own. We don’t need Jesus’ help.” Once they realized they were in over their heads, it became, “Jesus why don’t you care about us?”

I am definitely reconstructing this scene with what Peterson calls my “holy imagination.” This order of events is the only thing that makes sense of Jesus’ response to me.

A courageous faith is not a faith of last resort. I’m learning from this story that a courageous faith is one of first resort. It is not weakness to lean on my faith, Christ, or the Church immediately. Courage is knowing that we need Christ and one another. Courageous faith calls us to lean into the body of Christ as a matter of first steps.

Why do we so often wait? I think it’s because we think we can do it on our own. We think strength comes from independence. But, too quickly we realize that is simply not true. Strength comes from interdependence and trusting Christ.

The question I’m left with is this: Am I courageous enough to wake up Jesus at the first sight of the storm? Do I have a courageous faith that leads me to trust first?

How about you?

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