Today’s Bible Study verse is: 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?” (Mark 4:39-40 NIV)
How ineffectual this verse makes us feel! We have no power at all over the wind and the waters. We can yell and yell, but it will be in vain. We are at the mercy of the powers of nature. We may be afraid, but we can do nothing to still the waters or calm the wind. These are acts of God. It always seems rather strange that insurance companies refer to rain and wind as acts of God when these are damaging to people and property. We want to think of God as performing only acts that are gentle and kind and good. Yet, the powers of nature are beyond our control and can only be considered acts of God.
The fourth chapter of the Gospel of Mark is about parables and parable interpretation. The definition of parable by British scholar C H. Dodd has found wide acceptance among contemporary interpreters: “At its simplest the parable is a metaphor or simile drawn from nature or common life, arresting the hearers by its vividness or strangeness, and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt about the precise application to tease it into active thought.”
In today’s verses, we deal with rebuke and fear. Rebuked is the same verb used for addressing demons, where peace is the same word translated as “be silent.” Calming the storm is portrayed as an exorcism of the storm demon, another victory of Christ over satanic evil.
Then we are asked, “Why are you afraid?” As, “Don’t you know that you are dying out here?” is suffering humanity’s challenge to God, “Why are you afraid?” is God’s challenge to humanity. Perhaps we have never thought of it as being a challenge before. The story functions not only as a report of a once-upon-a-time amazing event at sea, but like the Gospel as a whole, as a Christological narrative representing the divine-human encounter in the Christ event.
This may seem hard to understand, but, reduced to its simplest terms, God is saying that we should not fear if we put out trust in him. He has the power to overcome demons, forced of nature, and all events that may befall us. If the waters of our own lives seem choppy and frightening, we can go to God in prayer and ask to be stilled. If we are living with fear and doubt, we can turn to Jesus and seek relief through prayer and spirituality. May we never cease to remember this and never cease to do so, especially in times of trouble.
References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.
Columbia Prayer Chain
Monday, July 25
- Kody Oswalt
- Joy Cantrell in Shandon
- Brenda in Irmo
- Paul and Shelley
- Julie in Dentsville
- Rootie Pope in Leesville
- Gene Awtrey in Spring Valley
- Fred and Gail
- The family of Timothy C. Jones of Batesburg-Leesville
- The family of Kimberly S. Bailey of Batesburg-Leesville
- Mandy and all creatures great and small
- Our president and our leaders
- Our troops in Afghanistan
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A discussion of today’s bible verse is encouraged. If you would like to participate, please feel free to write a comment in the space below. There are many different outlooks and interpretations of scripture passages and, the more we share, the more we learn.
Sharon is a member of the Community Church of the Midlands that meets at Seven Oaks Community Center at 200 Leisure Lane in Columbia and is a frequent participant, with her husband Douglas, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral located at 1100 Sumter Street In Columbia.
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