July 20, 2024

Jesus and Sleep

Mark 4:35-41

Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.

—  Mark 4:38

There are some places—like on airplanes—where I find it impossible to sleep.

In our story today, though, we read that Jesus fell into a deep sleep on a small boat that was out on a lake—in the middle of a storm!

Though a cushion may have aided his sleep, this brief scene about Jesus’ nap on a boat reveals two important truths about him. Like us, Jesus needed sleep. Too often when we read the stories of Jesus, we focus only on his divinity—that he is God. But this story also reminds us of Jesus’ humanity—that he is human, just like us. To be our Savior, Jesus became like us in every way, except that he was without sin (Hebrews 2:17; 4:15). He became fully human so that he could pay the price of sin for us. But he also had to be fully God so that he could save us from our estrangement with God.

In the boat, Jesus’ disciples shook him awake, fearing that they would drown in the storm. Sitting up and perhaps rubbing his eyes, Jesus calmly rebuked the wind and the waves. “Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” Only God can do that.

Fully human and fully divine, only Jesus can rescue us. As he called his disciples to believe in him, so he calls us to trust him for forgiveness and for safe passage through the storms of life.

Jesus, Lord and Savior, thank you for your love and forgiveness. Please help us to trust you in the storms of life. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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