On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him.
And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:35-41
Up to this point, the miracles have been about healings and silencing demons. Today Jesus calms and silences the forces of creation.
He uses two command words side by side that are very similar; so similar in fact that translations vary in order to not sound redundant. NASB says “Hush, be still.” NIV translates it as “Quiet! Be still.” NRSV, KJV, and ESV all go for a variant of, “Peace, be still.”
The words exclaimed by Jesus are “Σιώπα πεφίμωσο.” The first word (siopa) is the verb “to be calm, peaceful, or silent.” The second (pephimoso) is also a verb and means “to muzzle or put to silence.” See the issue? They are basically synonyms.
I like the first word better for a couple of reasons. First, it seems a bit softer; more peaceful. Second, the Latin equivalent is “sileo,” often used metaphorically to indicate “peaceful” or “calm.” Third, and most importantly, sileo is my last name!
Haven’t we all tried to wake the Lord up in these troubled times because it seems that he doesn’t care about our surroundings? We have to remind ourselves that he who can command the universe is right there with us. Maybe he is patiently waiting to see how we will react to the storm.
Are we so caught ip in are own situation that we forget that the Creator, Savior, and Inspirer is present in the storms of our lives?
Prince of Peace,
Calm the troubled waters of our hearts. Speak to us in this time with the words from the Psalm: “Be still and know that I am God!” (Ps. 46:10)
I pray in your name. Amen!