The Sleeping Savior
Place yourself in the disciples’ shoes as they sailed that stormy sea while Jesus slept in the stern of the boat. Several of them were experienced fishermen, and they understood that they were confronted with the very real possibility of drowning—yet their Master seemed to have abandoned them to it, sound asleep as He was.
The very fact that Jesus needed to sleep reveals that He had a real human body that knew the feelings of fatigue and thirst and hunger. He experienced firsthand the body’s weaknesses. He even went through the trouble of finding a cushion on which to sleep, showing us that He knew discomfort. He who had made the universe could have turned the wood beneath Him into a more comfortable substance fit for a good rest, but instead the Lord of glory laid His head on a pillow, just like you and me.
If Jesus had not known the weaknesses and temptations of humanity, He would not be a sympathetic High Priest, offering us mercy and grace from the heavenly throne (Hebrews 4:14-16). But the Bible makes it clear that He did. He knew, for instance, the pain of neglect: “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (John 1:11). Even some of His faithful disciples—some of the very men in this boat—eventually denied Him or deserted Him. He also knew the abuse of slander that misrepresented the wonder and beauty of His character (see for instance Luke 7:34). He wrestled for forty days and nights with the lies and temptations of the Evil One (Matthew 4:1-11). He faced utter agony and turmoil on the cross as He cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (27:46). There is no experience of pain or insult we might know that hasn’t wrung the heart of Christ—and because He knows such struggles, He invites us to come to Him as we experience them ourselves.
Here in this little incident nestled at the beginning of Mark’s Gospel is the life-changing reminder that Jesus is the living Christ, a sympathetic Savior, and a steadfast companion. There is no one better suited to deal with any predicament you or I may face than the Master whom the disciples found sound asleep on a cushion. You, like they, can cry out to Him and discover that the one who needed to sleep in that boat is also the one who could rebuke a storm—the one who reigns on high, who will never slumber nor sleep, and who will not let your foot be moved (Psalm 121:3-4).
What is on your mind today that prompts you to fear? Be assured that the Lord Jesus does understand what this life is like. Bring your fear to Him now, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
My Help Comes from the Lord
A Song of Ascents.
1I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
3He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
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