Gospel of Mark 4: 35-41 (NIV)
Jesus Calms the Storm
35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” What a staggering observation to make about any person! This would have been a miracle of the first order. Yet some would try to explain it rationally; others would deny it ever happened. There are probably as many different attitudes towards what we call miracles as there are people who read these Gospel accounts.
The supernatural (where “super” means “above” or “beyond”) realm is popular today but mostly in the field of entertainment. “Supernatural” is a literature and film genre in its own right. Some are convinced that the genre has a basis in lived experience; others are dismissive and consider it strictly fiction. Some are prepared to accept that miracles occur in the lives of people, for example where past addictive habits are ended for ever, but are not prepared to believe in any miracle which works contrary to the “laws of nature”.
We Christians who accept as truth the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah from death have accepted what we could consider to be the greatest miracle ever recorded. This being the case, we must accept the possibility of any and all miracles.
Fourteen years ago I came across this profound observation:
“We tend to reduce spiritual truths to common explainable phenomena. Instead of asking ‘why?’ questions that probe into the meaning of our existence, we ask only the ‘how?’ of things, thus satisfying our rationality. We want to hold existential truths at bay because we are afraid they may reveal to us that our pattern of living is far from perfect*.”
How fitting is this observation in relation to verse 39, above! We should not be asking “How did he do that?” “Why did Jesus do it?” is perhaps a valid question. More fitting though is “Why could Jesus do it?” He could do it because he truly was and is Son of God.
As the disciples then regarded him, so should we: with holy awe!
Lord, I believe; help my unbelief (Mark 9: 24).
*Scripture Union UK, Encounter with God, January 2000, p. 30.
Drawn from a talk delivered 3 December 2013