The Reading: Mark 4:35-41
“Asleep in the stern on the cushion” (v.38) RSV
The cushion at the rear of the boat was reserved for the honoured guest. Jesus did not needlessly turn down help and comfort when offered. There was no false abasement here. He had worked hard all day and now needed and accepted the best place to rest. He slept the sleep of the just. “God gives his beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2). He laid down his head with human tiredness and in perfect trust in his Father’s “everlasting arms”.
Jesus was at perfect peace in this dark world of sin. We too can know this “peace of God which passes all understanding” (Philippeans 4:7) if we truly believe that God has not only got the whole world in his hands, but in particular you and me.
He allowed the disciples to look after him, to minister to him. The disciples were only too happy to do this; it was something they felt able to do, and it lay within their power. We too are mainly happy to serve God, worship him, and keep his House in order. We even tend to feel empowered and useful.
There’s nothing wrong with that, unless we can only serve yet are unable to trust or receive help when we are weak.
How do we feel when in the hands of unreliable Christians who like helping but let us down when the going gets tough? And how do we feel when afloat on waters that are liable to churn up into a cauldron of swirling froth fit to drown us without any warning? Our lives are sometimes like that. All can seem to be going swimmingly until there is a stock market crash or an accident or ill health or our spouse goes off with someone else! What then?
Is our trust in ourselves, in fellow Christians, calm waters, or ultimately in God? Our trust at all times (good and bad) must be in the promises and presence of God. He will never leave us nor forsake. We can always sleep easy with Him.
Lord help us to trust whether waking or sleeping. May we be ever mindful of your good promises, and that with you we need never be afraid or anxious. Amen.
1. What enables us to sleep peacefully?
2. Are there times when you should not be able to sleep?
Jonah 1:5-6, Luke 6:12