who is this Man? pt 2 of 2
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Mark 4.39: “Quiet down!” often translated “Peace, be still!”
And waking up, he rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Be silent! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. (NRSV)
My Favorite Translation: Mom taught kid’s class at church. She set up a makeshift boat. All the kids piled in and my cousin Melissa wanted to be Jesus. Mom told the story and everyone acted it out. When she got to this part, my cousin Melissa stood up and yelled to the storm, “Shut up! Just shut up!”
Melissa’s translation is closer to the Greek.
Jesus quiets a raging storm that is terrifying seasoned fishermen.
Is Mark teaching us about the power of the spoken Word?
The Greek is clear. Jesus rebukes the storm like He rebukes demons.
Is He speaking to the storm, or some sort of personal force behind it?
The Word of God has the power to heal, deliver, and command nature.
The storm knows who Christ is. Do we?
Do our storms know who He is?
now we see the hope of the Gospel in 2 simple questions
Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!” (Mark 4.40-41; NLT)
“Why are you afraid?”
“Who is this man?”
They’re afraid. They’re afraid of the storm, and with good reason. But they’re also afraid of what could be behind the storm, or below it.
Now Christ calms the storm and the underworld with 1 command.
They were afraid of the storm, but now they’re afraid of Christ! Some translations say, “filled with awe,” but afraid is more accurate.
It can literally read, “They feared a great fear.” This is a Jewish saying, or idiom at the time, expressing terror. The Disciples are afraid of the storm, but they are terrified of Christ.
We want Christ to show up, but are we ever afraid to witness His glory?
The Twelve ask, “Who is this man?” This is the crux of this story, and the crux of the Gospel. Like ancient biographers, Mark focuses on the identity of the key player.
Who is this Man?
Storms obey Him.
Chaos yields to Him.
The underworld submits to Him.
“Why are you so afraid?”
“Who is this man?”
These are critical questions both then and now.
Who is this man? We relate to the Disciples, but Mark focuses on Jesus Christ’s identity
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. (Mark 4.35-36; NRSV)
He is the One who draws us away from the crowds
This is a recurring pattern in this portion of Mark. In every story, Jesus moves from the crowds to an intimate group. There is a contrast: the crowds vs. the Disciples or only a few Disciples. Then there are miracles.
Because of Mark’s recurring theme or pattern, you’d think the Disciples would’ve seen it coming. They’re set apart for a miracle.
Hasn’t Jesus established a pattern or a track record in our lives, like this theme in Mark?
Shouldn’t we see it coming?
It’s as if our Lord is looking for an opportunity to get personal with us and share His glory.
He’s the One who’s not surprised by storms; He’s the One at rest
A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion, and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4.37-38)
Sometimes the best thing we can do on a hard day, is to take a nap. We may find we’re closer to Jesus Christ when we rest than when we worry.
Do we really understand rest anymore, rest for the soul, sabbath rest?
Do you know this is the only mention of Jesus sleeping in the New Testament?
Our ship seems to be sinking, but where’s Jesus?
Perhaps the best we can do is to curl up beside Him!
He’s the One who calls us to believe again
And waking up, he rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Be silent! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4.39-41)
Jesus commands the storms!
Jesus calls us to believe!
In the New Testament, “to believe” means to believe in someone, like trusting in someone. So Jesus takes their belief personally, Don’t you know who I am?
“Do you still not have faith in me?” (verse 40; older NLT… great translation!)
Sandra Richter tackles this question in her modern classic, Epic of Eden: A Christian Entry into the Old Testament.
“‘What kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’ (Mt 8:27). The answer, of course, is that this is Yahweh the Son. And this event is one of the clearest declarations of Jesus’ deity in the New Testament. It is Yahweh who said at the dawn of creation: ‘thus far you shall come, but no farther’; and it is only Yahweh the Son who could stand and remind the Sea of Galilee of the same.” (italicized portion for clarity) 
pic credit: Yoav Aziz | Sun After Rain | Sea of Galilee | 12.22.20 | unsplash.com
- Ben Witherington III, The Gospel of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2001), 176.
- Ibid., 177.
- Sandra L. Richter, The Epic of Eden: A Christian Entry into the Old Testament (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2008), 146-147.