When People are Big and God is small By Ed Welch
There are many other biblical themes and passages that direct us to the fear of the Lord. The gospel of Mark, however, is the book of amazement. It is constantly saying that Jesus amazed those who witnessed his ministry. This amazement did not always lead to reverent submission, but it is Mark’s way of teaching us that Jesus is the Holy one, God in the flesh.
Mark’s basic them is that Jesus amazed people by both his teaching and his miraculous deeds. He starts this immediately: “The people were amazed at his teaching” (Mark 1:22). Mark’s gospel proceeds to show Jesus’ demonstrating authority over evil spirits (1:27). Then, when Jesus told the paralytic that his sins were forgiven and he could walk, everyone was amazed and praised God (2:12).
The next story of amazement took the disciples back to the creation account and the creative word of God. Crowds were already following Jesus to the point where a boat was one of the few places he could rest. “Let us go over to the other side,” Jesus said to his disciples. After they rowed beyond view of the shore, a furious storm came up, threatening to capsize the boat. Waves were already breaking over the sides and the boat was filling up with water. How Jesus could ever sleep through such an even seems superhuman in itself, but that is not what caused the amazement. When the disciples could finally shake him awake, Jesus spoke to his creation, “Quite! Be Still!” And the water became flat as grass.
Prior to this time, the disciples had seen and heard many things. They had witnessed many miraculous healings, and they had heard teaching that elicited as much awe from the crowds as did the miracles. But this is the first time that Mark talks about the disciples responses. How would you respond if you were standing next to the Creator God and heard him speak to his creation? Don’t forget, even the words of the seraphim could shake the temple. “They were terrified”, Mark says about the disciples. They did not feel relief or happiness that they would live and not even lose their boat. They were terrified. What a wonderful response. It was ideal for people being schooled in the fear of the Lord.