WHAT WAS THE REAL MESSAGE OF THE STILLING OF THE WATERS MIRACLE?
Our present day Bible is the product of a long history. We probably do not give much thought when we look up a biblical reference that our scripture’s division into chapters and verses wasn’t always that way. We have become so accustomed to having our scripture with such divisions that it is somewhat difficult to visualize it in any other form. Stop for a moment and consider how difficult it would be to locate a selected reference without the chapter and verses designated!
Most of the original manuscripts of the Bible were recorded on scrolls and were lettered by hand. As such they were very expensive and even the wealthiest worship centers seldom had more than one or two “books”. Consequently, locating a particular passage would not have been very difficult when only one or two manuscripts existed. However, the invention of the printing press made it possible for less expensive duplication and as additional “books” were added, the need for an easier location system became necessary. The present division of our Bible into chapters and verses occurred relatively recently in historical terms (about 1551)
Although the selection of certain passages was simplified, the resulting division of the books is NOT without its problems. Frequently, the divisions are arbitrary and tend to break the sense of continuity when reporting an account. However, the major limitation is that the accounts are treated as separate entities and not put into context, i.e., what had been happening before and what happed next? Coupled with this shortcoming as indicated in John 21:25, only selected accounts of our Lord’s ministry were recorded. Also it is common knowledge that each of the gospel writers was writing for a specific audience and his message was primarily directed to convince his readers that Jesus was indeed the Messiah and seldom would all four gospels be available to a congregation until a much later date.
In chapter four a Mark we read several consecutive parables, the parable of the sower, the growing grain and the mustard seed. At the end of this sequence of parables in Mark 4:33-34, the Bible states: “With many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it: He did not speak to them without a parable but privately to his disciples. He explained everything”. Then immediately after those parables we encounter the miracle of the storm being stilled!!
The account of the stilling of the storm is definitely a miracle in which Jesus exhibits His power over natural forces; but the report has overtones of a parable and seems to have definite implications for us today. It seems to be assuring us that our Lord still has power to still the storms within our lives thereby provide us with “peace” and “stillness” to our souls.
So what message do we choose to take from this account? Should we be content to nod our heads and say, “Wow! What a happening!” or might it be proper to give Him thanks for providing us with an assurance of His present power to bring a sense of stillness within the storms of our life?