Anglican Morning Devotion for 3 November 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion of Churches Worldwide
“And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:35-41)
Amazing to us, in our backward look at the ministry of Christ, that these disciples could have harbored such fear in the presence of the Lord of all Creation. Having already witnessed numerous miracles, how could they not have known Him to be the Lord of all Creation. Perhaps we should view them less critically since there had never been, and never shall be, another man such as our Lord Jesus Christ, embodying the natures of both man and God (for He was God Incarnate).
The events on the Sea of Galilee begin, and end, in a ship. “And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.” (Mark 4:1) There are multitudes of lost souls who desperately need to hear the Gospel of Christ and who cannot be reached by mingling among them. It is often necessary to separate one’s self from the world in order to reach the world with the Gospel – and that was what Jesus determined to do by preaching from the ship to the multitudes on the shore.
Jesus had experienced a very tiring day. In the previous chapter (3) of Mark, we learn that on this same occasion He had sought rest in a local home but found it not due to the press of people. He, nonetheless, preached to them so that his friends exclaimed, “He is beside Himself,’ for never Jewish religious leader taught with such fervor. The Pharisees on that occasion accused Jesus of being a devil. His mother and brethren who, it seems, never attended His sermons and teach (or at least infrequently) wished to speak with him by waiting outside the crowded venue. When told of this Jesus had answered, “And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? 34And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 35For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother. (Mark 3:33-35)
Now, having taught from a ship to the crowds gathered on the shores of Galilee, Jesus, exhausted with the day’s events, said, “Let us pass over unto the other side.” The appeal of Christ was so becoming that there were other smaller boats gathered about His ship as they weighed anchor to depart. (And there were also with him other little ships.)
Life of the believer is not always smooth sailing as we confront the same storms of life as all others. The factor that makes all the difference is that the believer will always enjoy the Presence of the Lord as his shield and comforter. A great storm arose on the Sea of Galilee, but our Lord Jesus Christ was soundly asleep in the hinder part of the ship. The disciples could little control the ship in such billows of waves and gales of wind. The vessel began to take on much water. This reminds us of the nature of a ship compared to that of the Church. The Church is made to carry the Gospel to all parts of the globe. It is made for the purpose just as a ship is made to navigate the waters. But when the world begins to get into the Church (just as when water begins to invade the ship), there will follow ruin and wreck. The Church has taken on the world’s music and philosophy in our day and will doubtless crash upon the shoals without a return to God’s Word and Will.
But how could the crew fear of perishing with the Master of the Winds and Sea aboard? Well, their faith had not matured fully to know the Almighty nature of Christ. They woke him and expressed their fear and disappointment that He would sleep during such a terror. But when we have the Lord with us in either sea or land, there is no force that can prevail against us and certainly no cause for fear. “And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still.” The same Word that called the earth, sun, and stars into existence is little challenged with a tiny storm on a tiny sea. What did the disciples expect – that he might arise and join in the futile struggle to navigate the ship through the storm? They were shocked to learn the power of God in the storm just as we are oft shocked at the miraculous answers to our prayers. “And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” What manner of man and Redeemer is Christ to you?