And the same day, when the even was come, he said to them, Let us pass over to the other side.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And the same day.—Better, in that day. See Notes on Matthew 8:23-27. The connection of the events, as given by St. Mark, seems to be precise enough, but it differs widely from that in St. Matthew and St. Luke, and it must remain uncertain which was the actual order.
The other side.—The voyage was from Capernaum—from the west to the east side of the lake.
THE STORM STILLED
Mark seldom dates his incidents, but he takes pains to tell us that this run across the lake closed a day of labour, Jesus was wearied, and felt the need of rest, He had been pressed on all day by ‘a very great multitude,’ and felt the need of solitude. He could not land from the boat which had been His pulpit, for that would have plunged Him into the thick of the crowd, and so the only way to get away from the throng was to cross the lake. But even there He was followed; ‘other boats were with Him.’
I. The first point to note is the wearied sleeper.
The disciples ‘take Him, . . . even as He was,’ without preparation or delay, the object being simply to get away as quickly as might be, so great was His fatigue and longing for quiet. We almost see the hurried starting and the intrusive followers scrambling into the little skiffs on the beach and making after Him. The ‘multitude’ delights to push itself into the private hours of its heroes, and is devoured with rude curiosity. There was a leather, or perhaps wooden, movable seat in the stern for the steersman, on which a wearied-out man might lay his head, while his body was stretched in the bottom of the boat. A hard ‘pillow’ indeed, which only exhaustion could make comfortable! But it was soft enough for the worn-out Christ, who had apparently flung Himself down in sheer tiredness as soon as they set sail. How real such a small detail makes the transcendent mystery of the Incarnation! Jesus is our pattern in small common things as in great ones, and among the sublimities of character set forth in Him as our example, let us not forget that the homely virtue of hard work is also included. Jonah slept in a storm the sleep of a skulking sluggard, Jesus slept the sleep of a wearied labourer.
II. The next point is the terrified disciples.
The evening was coming on, and, as often on a lake set among hills, the wind rose as the sun sank behind the high land on the western shore astern. The fishermen disciples were used to such squalls, and, at first, would probably let their sail down, and pull so as to keep the boat’s head to the wind. But things grew worse, and when the crazy, undecked craft began to fill and get water-logged, they grew alarmed. The squall was fiercer than usual, and must have been pretty bad to have frightened such seasoned hands. They awoke Jesus, and there is a touch of petulant rebuke in their appeal, and of a sailor’s impatience at a landsman lying sound asleep while the sweat is running down their faces with their hard pulling. It is to Mark that we owe our knowledge of that accent of complaint in their words, for he alone gives their ‘Carest Thou not?’
But it is not for us to fling stones at them, seeing that we also often may catch ourselves thinking that Jesus has gone to sleep when storms come on the Church or on ourselves, and that He is ignorant of, or indifferent to, our plight. But though the disciples were wrong in their fright, and not altogether right in the tone of their appeal to Jesus, they were supremely right in that they did appeal to Him. Fear which drives us to Jesus is not all wrong. The cry to Him, even though it is the cry of unnecessary terror, brings Him to His feet for our help.
III. The next point is the word of power.
Again we have to thank Mark for the very words, so strangely, calmly authoritative. May we take ‘Peace!’ as spoken to the howling wind, bidding it to silence; and ‘Be still!’ as addressed to the tossing waves, smoothing them to a calm plain? At all events, the two things to lay to heart are that Jesus here exercises the divine prerogative of controlling matter by the bare expression of His will, and that this divine attribute was exercised by the wearied man, who, a moment before, had been sleeping the sleep of human exhaustion. The marvellous combination of apparent opposites, weakness, and divine omnipotence, which yet do not clash, nor produce an incredible monster of a being, but coalesce in perfect harmony, is a feat beyond the reach of the loftiest creative imagination. If the Evangelists are not simple biographers, telling what eyes have seen and hands have handled, they have beaten the greatest poets and dramatists at their own weapons, and have accomplished ‘things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.’
A word of loving rebuke and encouragement follows. Matthew puts it before the stilling of the storm, but Mark’s order seems the more exact. How often we too are taught the folly of our fears by experiencing some swift, easy deliverance! Blessed be God! He does not rebuke us first and help us afterwards, but rebukes by helping. What could the disciples say, as they sat there in the great calm, in answer to Christ’s question, ‘Why are ye fearful?’ Fear can give no reasonable account of itself, if Christ is in the boat. If our faith unites us to Jesus, there is nothing that need shake our courage. If He is ‘our fear and our dread,’ we shall not need to ‘fear their fear,’ who have not the all-conquering Christ to fight for them.
‘Well roars the storm to them who hear
A deeper voice across the storm.’
Jesus wondered at the slowness of the disciples to learn their lesson, and the wonder was reflected in the sad question, ‘Have ye not yet faith?’-not yet, after so many miracles, and living beside Me for so long? How much more keen the edge of that question is when addressed to us, who know Him so much better, and have centuries of His working for His servants to look back on. When, in the tempests that sweep over our own lives, we sometimes pass into a great calm as suddenly as if we had entered the centre of a typhoon, we wonder unbelievingly instead of saying, out of a faith nourished by experience, ‘It is just like Him.’Mark 4:35-41. The same day, when the even was come — See note on Matthew 8:18. They took him even as he was in the ship — They carried him immediately, in the same vessel from which he had been preaching to the people. And there arose a great storm — See note on Matthew 8:23-27. He was asleep in the hinder part of the ship — So we translate the words επι τη πρυμνη, for want of a proper English expression for that particular part of the vessel near the rudder, on which he lay. Peace — Cease thy tossing; be still — Cease thy roaring. The Greek word, πεφιμωσο, is, literally, Be thou gagged. Matthew 8:18-27.
The time of this section is very definitely marked by our Evangelist, and by him alone, in the opening words.
Jesus Stills a Tempest on the Sea of Galilee (Mr 4:35-41).
35. And the same day—on which He spoke the memorable parables of the Mr 4:1-32, and of Mt 13:1-52.
when the even was come—(See on Mr 6:35). This must have been the earlier evening—what we should call the afternoon—since after all that passed on the other side, when He returned to the west side, the people were waiting for Him in great numbers (Mr 4:21; Lu 8:40).
he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side—to the east side of the lake, to grapple with a desperate case of possession, and set the captive free, and to give the Gadarenes an opportunity of hearing the message of salvation, amid the wonder which that marvellous cure was fitted to awaken and the awe which the subsequent events could not but strike into them.See Poole on "Matthew 8:23", and following verses to Matthew 8:27. Christ had been preaching, and being wearied and tired with the multitude still pressing upon him, gave order to cross the sea, and to go over to the other side; then (to show us he was truly man, and took upon him the infirmities of our nature) he composes himself to sleep on a pillow, in the hinder part of the ship. There happeneth a great storm of wind, not without Christ’s knowledge and ordering, that he might upon this occasion both try his people’s faith, and also show his Divine power in stilling the raging of the sea. As man he slept, but at the same time he was the true Watchman of Israel, who never slumbereth nor sleepeth. The storm increaseth till there was a great quantity of water come into the ship, and they were ready to perish. In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen, Genesis 22:14. God often forbears from helping his people till the last hour. Then they awake him, he ariseth, rebukes the wind and the waves, useth no means, but by the word of his power commandeth the wind and waves to be still; and he also rebuketh his disciples for want of faith, who yet did not discern that he was not man only, but the Almighty God, as appears by their words, they said one to another, What manner of man is this?
he saith unto them; his disciples,
let us pass over unto the other side: that is, of the sea of Galilee, or lake of Gennesaret, to the country of the Gadarenes, and Gergesenes; with a view for retirement and rest, after the fatigue of the day; and for the trial of the faith of his disciples, by a storm which he knew would arise, whilst they were on the sea; and for the sake of a miracle he was to work on the other side, after related.And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Mark 4:35-41. See on Matthew 8:18; Matthew 8:23-27. Comp. Luke 8:22-25.
ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ] Mark 4:1 f.; a difference in respect of time from Matthew 8:18. Luke 8:22 is altogether indefinite.
ὡς ἦν ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ] to be taken together; as He was in the ship (comp. Mark 4:1) without delay for further preparation they take possession of Him. For examples of this mode of expression, see Kypke and Fritzsche.
καὶ ἄλλα δέ] but other ships also (Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 182; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 884) were in His train (μετʼ αὐτοῦ) during the voyage; a characteristic descriptive trait in Mark.
Mark 4:37. On λαῖλαψ ἀνέμου, comp. Hom. Il. xvii. 57; Anthol. Anacr. 82. On the accent of λαῖλαψ, see Lipsius, gramm. Untersuch. p. 36 f.
ἐπέβαλεν] intransitive (comp. on Mark 4:29, Plat. Phaedr. p. 248 A, and frequently) not transitive, so that the storm would be the subject (Vulgate, Luther, Zeger, Homberg, and several others). The τὰ δέ κύματα, for this purpose prefixed, indicates itself as the subject.
Mark 4:38. And He Himself was at the stem, laid down on the pillow that was there, asleep. It was a part of the vessel intended for the sailors to sit or lie down, Poll. v. 40; more strictly, according to Smith (Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul, p. 296 ff.), the cushion of the rowers’ bench.
Mark 4:39. σιώπα, πεφίμωσο] be silent! be dumb! asyndetic, and so much the more forcible (Nägelsbach, Anm. z. Ilias, ed. 3, p. 247, 359), Eur. Hec. 532. The sea is personified; hence the less are we to conjecture, with Schleiermacher, L. J. p. 230, that Jesus has addressed the disciples (ye shall see that it will immediately be still).
ἐκόπασεν ὁ ἄνεμος] Herod vii. 191. Comp. Mark 6:51; Matthew 14:32, from which passage de Wette arbitrarily derives the expression of Mark.
Mark 4:40. πῶς] how is it possible, etc.? They had already so often been the witnesses of His divine power, under the protection of which they needed not to tremble.
Mark 4:41. ἐφοβήθησαν] not the people (Grotius and others), which agrees with Matthew but not with the context, but the disciples, who were thrown (psychologically) into fear at the quite extraordinary phenomenon, and were not yet clear as to the divine causa efficiens in Jesus (τίς ἄρα οὗτος, etc.). As to φοβεῖσθαι φόβον μέγαν, comp. on Matthew 2:10. On τίς ἄρα, in which the perplexity is not expressed by the ἄρα, but is implied in the context (in opposition to Hartung), and ἄρα means: igitur, rebus ita comparatis, see Klotz, ad Devar. p. 176. Comp. Nägelsbach, Anm. z. Ilias, ed. 3, p. 10 f.
 With this agrees neither the half-naturalizing view of Lange, L. J. II. p. 314, that the immediate causes of the calm setting in lay in the atmosphere, and that so far the threatening word of Jesus was prophetical (comp. Schleiermacher); nor the complete breaking up of the miracle by Schenkel, who makes the matter amount simply to this, that Jesus by virtue of His confidence in God and foresight of His destination exercised a peaceful and soothing sway among the disciples, although these were possessed of nautical knowledge and He was not. Keim, p. 123, adds, moreover, a prayer previous to the command of Jesus, assuming that then God acted, and Jesus was only His interpreter. Of all this, however, there is nothing in the text. See rather ver. 41, which also testifies against the resolution of the natural miracle suggested by Weizsäcker.
The weakness of faith and of discernment on the part of the disciples (Mark 4:40 f.) appears in Mark most strongly of the Synoptics (comp. Mark 6:52, Mark 7:18, Mark 8:17-18; Mark 8:33, Mark 9:6; Mark 9:19; Mark 9:32; Mark 9:34, Mark 10:24; Mark 10:32; Mark 10:35, Mark 14:40). Ritschl in the theol. Jahrb. 1851, p. 517 ff., has rightly availed himself of this point on behalf of Mark’s originality; since a later softening—yet without set purpose and naturally unbiassed, and hence not even consistent—is at any rate more probable than a subsequent aggravation of this censure. The remarks of Baur in opposition (theol. Jahrb. 1853, p. 88 f.) are unimportant, and would amount to this, that Mark, who is assumed withal to be neutral, would in this point have even outstripped Luke. Comp. Holtzmann, p. 435 f.Mark 4:35-41. Crossing the lake (Matthew 8:18; Matthew 8:23-27, Luke 8:22-25).—ἐν ἐκείνῃ τ. ἡ., on that day, the day of the parable discourse, the more to be noted that Mark does not usually trouble himself about temporal connection.—διέλθωμεν, let us cross over, spoken to the Twelve, who are in the boat with Jesus.35–41. The Stilling of the Storm
35. he saith unto them] The three Synoptic Evangelists all agree in placing the Stilling of the Storm before the healing of the possessed in the country of the Gadarenes.
the other side] After a long and exhausting day he needed retirement, and repose could nowhere be more readily obtained than in the solitude of the eastern shore.Mark 4:35. Ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ, on that day) See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. The pronoun ἐκείνῃ, that, does not denote precisely that day on which the Saviour put forth the parables of the sower and the rest of the parables, as Grotius, besides other commentators, acknowledge; but, with less definiteness, is to be referred to a day marked in the former course of this gospel, namely, ch. Mark 2:1. So Jdg 13:10, ביום, LXX. ἐν ἡμέρᾳ, or, as it is better read in the Cod. Alex. τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ. So Matthew 24:48, ὁ κακὸς δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος. And indeed Mark applies ἐκεῖνος in various senses; see notes ch. Mark 2:20, Mark 13:24. As to the time of this voyage, comp. Harmon. Evang. § 49.
 Where the more immediate antecedent to ἐκεῖνος is the faithful and wise servant, and the antecedent intended must be supplied from the course of the previous discourse, Mark 4:38-39, etc.—ED.Verses 35, 36. - And on that day, - the day, that is, on which the parables were delivered, at least those recorded by St. Mark - when even was come, he saith unto them, Let us go over unto the other side. And leaving the multitude, they take him with them, even as he was, in the boat. It was the boat from which he had been preaching. They made no special preparation. They did not land first to obtain provisions. It would have been inconvenient to go ashore in the midst of the crowd. They made at once, as he told them to do, for the other side. And other boats were with him. This is another interesting circumstance. Probably those who were in these boats had availed themselves of them to get nearer to the great Prophet, the boatmen themselves having seen the vast crowd that was gathered on the shore, and so having been attracted thither. Thus he had a large audience on the sea as well as on the land. And not it was so ordered that he was surrounded by a fleet and by a multitude of witnesses when he stilled the tempest.
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