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Mark 4:35-41

Athanasius reminds us that even when the Lord was sleeping he found a way of testing his disciples. He shows that He is the Lord of all things, because even the winds and waves obey Him. This convinces the disciples who become proclaimers and teachers at the same time.

Origen sees the boat as a type of the church sailing through time and beset by storms, with the faithful, like the disciples, protected by their Lord.

St Gregory Nazianzus notes that the Lord was tired, and yet is, himself. the rest of the weary, and though overcome by sleep, goes lightly over the water, rebukes the waves and save the disciples.

St Cyril of Alexandria notes that fear would have sharpened the senses of the disciples, so they would more easily perceive the significance of what was to come, and they would remember it well. The words he speaks are those of Habakkuk (Hab. 3:10) and Nahum’s prophecy (Nahum 1:4) is fulfilled in him.

Ephrem the Syrian sees in the story the ship carrying his humanity, but the power of his Godhead carrying the ship and all who were in it. He shows his mastery of the heavens and the earth by showing no fear and by calming even the elements which the disciples feared would destroy them; they have no power over him who has power over them.

St Augustine comments that when the Christian faces abuse, it is as though he is being assaulted by the wind, and when your anger is aroused, you are being tossed by the waves. So, when the winds blow and the waves mount high, the boat is in danger and your heart imperilled. When you are insulted you long to take revenge, but that will bring not the joy you think, but shipwreck. Why? Because then Christ is asleep in you, because you have forgotten his presence. So rouse him, remember him, and let him keep watch within you, pay heed to him, and as the wind and the waves obey him, so should the storms of your heart.

Those who seek to argue that Jesus is not God, ignore the evidence of the Gospels. Habakkuk and Nahum both make it plain that calming the wind and the waves are the prerogative of God. The Disciples would have known that, and the episode was part of the way in which the Lord schooled them. We see, here and in Luke, that mastery over the wind and waves teaches the Disciples more than words could.

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