Jesus was sleeping
Mark 4:38 (AV)
And he¹ was in the hinder part of the ship²,
asleep³ on a pillow⁴:
and they awake⁵ him¹,
and say unto him¹,
Master⁶, carest thou not that we perish⁷?
²) The stern or hinder part of the ship.
³) Normally sleeping.
⁴) A pillow, or cushion.
⁵) Wake up.
⁶) Greek: Teacher; In the New Testament one who teaches concerning the things of God, and the duties of man.
⁷) To destroy; To put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to, ruin
But He [Himself] was in the stern [of the boat], asleep on the [leather] cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him, Master, do You not care that we are perishing? [AMP] 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?" [ESV] And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him, saying, "Teacher, is it nothing to you that we're going down?" [MSB] And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? [KJV] Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" [NIV] Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically they woke him up, shouting, "Teacher, don't you even care that we are going to drown?" [NLT] But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" [NKJV]
Some further information:
Observe that the Christ was asleep in this storm; and here we are told that it was in the hinder part of the ship, the pilot’s place: he lay at the helm, to intimate that, as Mr. George Herbert expresses it:
When winds and waves assault my keel,George Herbert
He doth preserve it, he doth steer,
Ev’n when the boat seems most to reel.
Storms are the triumph of his art;
Though he may close his eyes, yet not his heart.
He had a pillow there,
such a one as a fisherman’s ship would furnish him with.
And He slept, trying the faith of His disciples and stirring up prayer:
upon the trial, their faith appeared weak, and their prayers strong.
The hinder part of the ship
Asleep on a pillow
Either a place in the vessel made to receive the head, or a cushion for the head to rest on.
It was evening; and after the fatigues of a busy day of teaching under the hot sun, having nothing to do while crossing the lake, He sinks into a deep sleep, which even this tempest raging around and tossing the little vessel did not disturb.
Note that sometimes when the church is in a storm, Christ seems as if he were asleep, unconcerned about the troubles of his people, and regardless of their prayers, and does not presently appear for their relief.
Verily He is a God that hideth himself, (Isaiah 45:15).
But as, when He tarries, he does not tarry (Habakkuk 2:3 ), so when he sleeps he doesn’t sleep; the keeper of Israel does not so much as slumber (Psalms 121:3, 4 ); he slept, but his heart was awake.
They awake him,
They awoke Christ. Had not the necessity of the case called for it, they would not have stirred up or awoke their Master, till he had pleased; but they knew he would forgive them this.
When Christ seems as if he slept in a storm, he is awakened by the prayers of his people; when we know not what to do, our eye must be on him (2 Chronicles 20:12);
We may be at our wits’ end, but not at our faith’s end, while we have such a Savior to go to.
In Luke ( Luke 8:24 ) this is doubled, showing their life-and-death earnestness, “Master, Master.”
Carest thou not that we perish?
Doesn’t it mean anything to you that we are perishing?
Unbelief and fear made them sadly forget their place, to speak like that to the Lord.
Luke has: “Lord, save us, we perish.”
When those accustomed to fish upon that sea spoke like this, the danger must have been imminent.
Note that they said nothing of what would become of Him, if they perished; nor think, whether, if He could not perish, it was likely that He would not let this happen to them either; but they hardly knew what they said.
Their address to Christ is here expressed very emphatically; Master, carest thou not that we perish? I confess this sounds somewhat harsh, rather like chiding Him for sleeping than begging Him to awake.
I know no excuse for it, but the great familiarity which he was pleased to admit them into, and the freedom He allowed them; and the present distress they were in, which put them into such a fright, that they knew not what they said.
Carest thou not?
This shows that the disciples were really panicking, for Had Jesus not already, in many ways, proved that He cared?
They do Christ a deal of wrong, who suspect him to be careless of his people in distress. The matter is not so; he is not willing that anyone should perish, much less any of his little ones (Matthew 18:14).
Now let us reflect on this
Master, don’t you care that we perish?
What a question that is from the disciples!
Wouldn’t the Lord Jesus care about us perishing? But we think in our distress, when the Lord makes us cry out for help, that He doesn’t mind, and leaves us to our fate.
The disciples are in dire need.
While the Lord Jesus is sleeping, a storm has risen on the sea.
Wind and water become more threatening: the waves jump up against the ship and water enters their boat.
The men on that ship become so terrified that they cannot understand that the Lord is sleeping on: “Master, do you not care that we perish?”
But then the Savior stands up and chases away wind and water.
The disciples look at Him, trembling. And then they begin to see and believe. They fear and they believe at the same time.
Do we not experience that in our lives as well, when our unbelief is put to shame?
When we experience the help of the Lord?
That we fear and believe at the same time?
That we are finally starting to believe?
But faith must grow!
Lord, increase our faith!
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