Mark 4:37
And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
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(37) Beat into the ship, so that it was now full.—Better, were beating upon the ship, so that it was filling. Both verbs describe continuous action.



Mark 4:35

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.’

4:35-41 Christ was asleep in the storm, to try the faith of his disciples, and to stir them up to pray. Their faith appeared weak, and their prayers strong. When our wicked hearts are like the troubled sea which cannot rest, when our passions are unruly, let us think we hear the law of Christ, saying, Be silent, be dumb. When without are fightings, and within are fears, and the spirits are in a tumult, if he say, Peace, be still, there is a great calm at once. Why are ye so fearful? Though there may be cause for some fear, yet not for such fear as this. Those may suspect their faith, who can have such a thought as that Jesus careth not though his people perish. How imperfect are the best of saints! Faith and fear take their turns while we are in this world; but ere long, fear will be overcome, and faith will be lost in sight.Even as he was in the ship - They took him without making any preparation for the voyage; without providing any food or raiment. He was sitting in a ship, or boat, instructing the people. In the same boat, probably ill fitted to encounter a storm on the lake, they sailed. This would render their danger more imminent and the miracle more striking.

There were with him other little ships - Belonging probably to the people, who, seeing him sail, resolved to follow him.

37. And there arose a great storm of wind—"a tempest of wind." To such sudden squalls the Sea of Galilee is very liable from its position, in a deep basin, skirted on the east by lofty mountain ranges, while on the west the hills are intersected by narrow gorges through which the wind sweeps across the lake, and raises its waters with great rapidity into a storm.

and the waves beat into the ship—kept beating or pitching on the ship.

so that it was now full—rather, "so that it was already filling." In Matthew (Mt 8:24), "insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves"; but this is too strong. It should be, "so that the ship was getting covered by the waves." So we must translate the word used in Luke (Lu 8:23)—not as in our version—"And there came down a storm on the lake, and they were filled [with water]"—but "they were getting filled," that is, those who sailed; meaning, of course, that their ship was so.

See Poole on "Mark 4:35"

And there arose a great storm of wind,.... Called Laelaps, a wind that is suddenly whirled about upwards and downwards, and is said to be a storm, or tempest of wind with rain; it was a sort of a hurricane:

and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was full; of water, and ready to sink. Beza says in one copy it read, and so in one of Stephens's. It was immersed, covered all over with water, and was going down at once to the bottom; so that they were in imminent danger, in the utmost extremity; See Gill on Matthew 8:24.

{6} And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

(6) They that sail with Christ, although he seems to sleep ever so soundly when they are in danger, yet they are preserved by him in due time, being awakened.

Mark 4:37. γίνεται λαῖλαψ: cf. Jonah 1:4, ἐγένετο κλύδων μέγας.—ἐπέβαλλεν, were dashing (intransitive) against and into (εἰς) the ship.—γεμίζεσθαι, so that already (ἤδη) the ship was getting full.

37. a great storm] The word here used is found in Luke 8:23. The word employed in Matthew 8:24 generally means an earthquake. It was one of those sudden and violent squalls to which the Lake of Gennesaret was notoriously exposed, lying as it does 600 feet lower than the sea and surrounded by mountain gorges, which act “like gigantic funnels to draw down the cold winds from the mountains.” These winds are not only violent, but they come down suddenly, and often when the sky is perfectly clear. See Thomson’s Land and the Book, p. 374; Tristram’s Land of Israel, p. 430.

beat] Rather, kept beating. Comp. Matthew 8:24.

was now full] Rather, was already filling, or beginning to fill.

Mark 4:37. Ααῖλαψ) i.e. κίνησις νεφῶν καὶ ταραχὴ μετὰ εὐδίαν, κ.τ.λ., An agitation and commotion of the clouds after a calm [fair weather].—Eustathius.—ἐπέβαλεν, dashed into) viz. dashed themselves into.

Verse 37. - And there arose a great storm of wind; literally, there ariseth (γίνεται λαίλαψ). St. Mark often uses the historical present, which gives vigor and point to his narrative. And the waves beat into the boat, insomuch that the boat was now filling (ἤδη γεμίζεσθαι). St. Matthew says (Matthew 8:24), "the boat was covered with the waves." St. Luke (Luke 8:23), "they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy." Bede and ethers have thought that the boat in which Christ was the only boat that was tossed by this storm; in order that Christ might show his power in limiting the area of the tempest. But it is far more probable that the ether boats were subject to it; for they were very near to the boat in which Christ was. There must have been some reason for the allusion to these boats; and the wider the reach of the tempest, the greater would appear the Divine power of Christ in stilling it, and the greater the amount of testimony to the reality of the miracle. The miracle was wrought to show his power over all creation, the sea as well as the dry land; and that they, his disciples, and all who were with him might believe in him as the Omnipotent God. But further, this tempest on the sea of Galilee was a type and symbol of the trials and temptations which should come on the Church. For the Church of God is as a ship in a storm, ever tossed upon "the waves of this troublesome world." And then, moreover, as the rude storm urges the ship onwards, so that it more quickly reaches the desired haven, so afflictions and temptations quicken Christ's disciples to the greater desire of holiness, by which they are borne onwards more speedily to "the haven where they would be." Mark 4:37Storm (λαῖλαψ)

So Luke. Distinctively a furious storm or hurricane. Compare Septuagint, Job 38:1, of the whirlwind out of which God answered Job. See, also, Job 21:18. Matthew uses σεισμὸς a shaking. See on Matthew 8:24. Mr. Macgregor ("Rob Roy on the Jordan") says that "on the sea of Galilee the wind has a singular force and suddenness; and this is no doubt because that sea is so deep in the world that the sun rarefies the air in it enormously, and the wind, speeding swiftly above a long and level plateau, gathers much force as it sweeps through flat deserts, until suddenly it meets this huge gap in the way, and it tumbles down here irresistible."

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