That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this?” Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Mark 4:35-41, NIV version
I always thought that if the boat was full of women, not men, this would have been a different story. They would have been nonchalant about even the waves crashing over the boat. One person to steer, one to help, and the rest would have enjoyed a nice nap just like Jesus. “The Lord is here! What could we possibly have to worry about?” And Jesus might have actually been able to get a much-needed good night’s sleep.
Verse 36 is a line I never noticed before: “leaving the crowd behind they took him along, just as he was…” Since there are no wasted words in Scripture, what is the significance of “just as he was”?
Well, earlier in the chapter we see that the crowds were so big he had to get into a boat and teach them from the water. Back in Chapter 3 there was such a throng around them they couldn’t even eat (3:20). That is the same chapter where Jesus’ own family thought he had gone mad, and came to “take charge of him.” (3:21) And the Pharisees were calling him demon-possessed (3:22).
So maybe it just refers to him being hungry and tired, and maybe even hurt in his heart because of his family.
I love this small, intimate portrait of Jesus, exhausted and sleeping with a storm raging all around. It is like for a moment we get to look back through all the centuries and actually see him lying there, sleeping. The Lord of all Creation, but also a man; hungry, tired, and desperately misunderstood.
But what a lesson! We will always have storms in our lives, pretty much nonstop. But we can safely rest; there is no need to fear. HE is in our midst.
Note: This is just my unstudied thoughts on one specific sentence of this passage. If you would like to hear an excellent in-depth study of the whole passage, Pastor Mike Winger of BibleThinker.org is doing a YouTube series on the Gospel of Mark. This study, called “Why Jesus Calmed the Storm,” can be found here: https://youtu.be/GzA1ru6BBWA