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Stilling of the Storm Exegesis

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By embrune
Words 1882
Pages 8
Dr. Na
Religion 207
Dec 11, 2015

Stilling of the Storm The canonical gospels are a result of the spreading of the news of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Therefore, they must be studied when interested in gathering an account of Jesus’ life and death. The synoptic gospels include the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It is assumed that the author of the Gospel According to Mark wrote his gospel first and therefore becomes a blueprint for the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Therefore the synoptic gospels have similar events, structure, and timeframes. One major event in all three synoptic gospels is the story of the stilling of the storm. Assuming markan priority, this paper will discuss the Gospel According to Mark’s command that Jesus uses to rebuke the wind and sea: “Peace! Be still!”
The stilling of the storm is a triple tradition event, meaning it is found in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This event is contained in the passages of Mark 4:35-41, Matt 8:23-27, and Luke 8:22-25. Some similarities throughout this particular event are very evident and can be shown through the main course of events in the pericope. The first similarity is all gospels have Jesus asleep in the boat during a storm. Another similarity is that Jesus rebukes the natural elements and comments on the disciples’ lack of faith. Another important similarity is that the disciples question the authority of Jesus when the wind and water obey him. These three similarities lay out the foundation of this pericope and therefore, the differences can be analyzed.
Looking at the differences is crucial to acquiring each tendency and interpretation of each author. Differences are found in the tone of the pericope, saying of Jesus and disciples, and interpretations. For example, the Gospel According to Mark is tougher; Mark is seen as more strict, rude, and uses simple Greek language. The toughness of Mark is shown through the quote in verse 38 “don’t you care that we are perishing” (KJV). This quote sets a critical more serious tone to the text by portraying the disciples as harsh and rude. Each gospel is different, but the overall event is the same, as shown by similarities.
Other resources for analyzing this pericope is to study the ones before and after it to acquire a context of the lesion and message. The life of Jesus, and therefore this periscope, takes place during the pax romana. The pax romana is a time of peace and stability during this time in the Roman Empire. In the Gospel of Mark, the pericope gets a context. The event of the stilling of the storm took place on an evening after a long day of teaching, as shown in the Gospel of Mark verse 34. The context of this specific pericope is that they are crossing the lake because it was the only way to leave the huge crowd. This is especially important for understanding the context of Jesus’ comment to the disciples. The disciples spent the whole day learning from Jesus and still panicked because of the storm. The disciples were learning all day and still woke Jesus. Jesus could have been disappointed and therefore rebuked them harshly, as shown in the Gospel According to Mark in particular.
Another way to analyze the text is to ask what does the text does not say. An unanswered question based on this pericope is the question of which disciples are in the boat. It is assumed that it was the main four, but it cannot be proved. Another unanswered question that this event evokes concerns the rebuke of the wind and see. It is always important good to pay attention to Jesus’ exact words. Only in the Gospel According to Mark, the readers know what Jesus said to the storm, The Gospels of Matthew and Luke say nothing about Jesus’ words to the storm. The main question that is gathered from this event is that why would Luke and Matthew leave if out, if assuming Markan priority. If there is Matthean priority, the question becomes why does Mark insert a rebuke of the wind and how does it further his main point for the pericope. Is Mark the only Gospel focused on peace? And if this is the case, what kind of peace is being mentioned. It is highly unlikely, that Jesus is simply talking about weather conditions.
Matthew emphasized the words of the Lord throughout his Gospel. This is a surprising fact because, if assuming markan priority, Matthew has omitted Jesus’ verbal rebuke of the elements. Another interesting fact is, in The Gospel of Matthew, Jesus makes it quite clear that he is not focused on peace. Matthew chapter 10, verse 34 states “On the one hand, Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (article1). If the author if the Gospel According to Matthew was not focused on peace, there is a chance that the author of the Gospel according to Mark might be. If assuming Markan priority, The Gospel According to Matthew took out the focus on peace. Perhaps this is because of Matthew’s heavy emphasis of the fulfillment of scriptures. In the Gospel of Matthew, there are over one hundred allusions to Old Testament events and scripture.
The context gives clear meaning to two key terms: peace and sword. Peace, here, evidently means absence of conflict. The interpretation of peace is seen on an individual basis and therefore has many meanings and interpretations. Some definitions of peace is the absence of conflict or war, pacifism, and calmness.
Mark is a strong advocate of the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. The narrative in the Gospel of Mark was likely written to encourage early Christians in Rome who were feeling the effects of tribulation for the cause of Christ. Mark mentions He mentions persecution as the cost of discipleship as shown in chapter 10, verse 30. Perhaps, the chaos around the disciples in the boat was representing the persecution of the early believers. Mark’s emphasis on Jesus as the Son of God and the use of natural chaos furthers the interpretation of Jesus being authoritative over the world. The command of “Peace. Be still” is used to convey Mark’s point throughout this periscope.
Similar to the Gospel According to Mark, The author of Luke is writing for non-Hebrew recipients. From Luke’s introduction, it is clear that the intended audience was much wider. This work is designed to reach the Greeks with the message of Jesus Christ. The Greeks were preoccupied with a consideration of man. Luke focuses upon Christ as the perfect example of humanity. With that in mind, Jesus’ command of peace to the wind and storm does not support the main idea that Christ is the perfect example of humanity. Most humans do not calm the elements with a word.
Now that we have seen a little bit of peace throughout the gospels, now the topic of the command will be discussed. Jesus gives the command of “Peace! Be still!” to the natural elements. An interesting fact about this periscope is that this pericope directly relates to the Old Testament. God, in the Old Testament, has power over elements and grants peace to the people; what God did then, Jesus does now. This is important because this pericope is an instance that equates God’s authority to Jesus. In traditional Jewish theology, waters represent uncontrollable forces of nature, as shown in Genesis chapter 1 verses 6 and 7, which state “And God said, ‘Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.’ So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so.” Yahweh, or God, was master of the chaos. To further this assumption that Jesus is also authoritative, Psalm 93 depicts God seated in majesty among waters, symbolizing that God rules over chaos and nature. Jesus’ rebuke of the wind, “Peace! Be still!” is short and simple language. The simplicity of this command makes the power of Jesus appear stronger. This command, in all three synoptic gospel, comments on evidence of Jesus’ power of peace over the elements and his authority. God supplies the power to bring about true peace, and in the case of this periscope Jesus also has the power of peace over the world.

Bibliography

Furnish, V. P. "War and Peace in the New Testament." Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 38, (1984): 363-79. Accessed December 8, 2015. http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?sid=89bb4dc8-7fd7-456d-a629- 4e346f376cf2@sessionmgr198&vid=48&hid=101&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2Z Q==#AN=ATLA0000925729

Goodacre, Mark S. The Synoptic Problem: A Way through the Maze. London: Sheffield Academic, 2001.
Hordern, Richard. "The Gospel of Peace: Theological Reflections in the Nuclear Age." Union Seminary Quarterly Review 39, (1984): 115-26. Accessed December 9, 2015. http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?sid=15cca083-d2d8-4b4c-8631- 9506ac3e576e@sessionmgr198&vid=7&hid=101&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ ==#AN=ATLA0000924459

Jackson, Wayne. "Examining the Four Gospels." ChristianCourier.com. Access date: December 10, 2015. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/273-examining-the-four-gospels

Kirk, Albert, and Robert E. Obach. A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. New York: Paulist, 1978.
Marshall, I. Howard. "A Group of Mighty Works." The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978.
Talbert, Charles H. The Development of Christology during the First Hundred Years, and Other Essays on Early Christian Christology. Leiden: Brill, 2011.
Williamson, Lamar. Mark. Atlanta: J. Knox, 1983.
Williamson, Lamar. "Jesus of the Gospels and the Christian Vision of Shalom." Horizons in Biblical Theology 6, no. 2 (1984): 49-66. Accessed December 8, 2015. http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?sid=89bb4dc8-7fd7-456d-a629-4e346f376cf2@sessionmgr198&vid=47&hid=101&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ==#AN=ATLA0000953756

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[ 1 ]. Charles Talbert, The Development of Christology during the First Hundred Years, and Other Essays on Early Christian Christology (Leiden: Brill, 2011.)
[ 2 ]. Mark Goodacre, The Synoptic Problem: A Way through the Maze (London: Sheffield Academic, 2001).
[ 3 ]. Goodacre, 2001.
[ 4 ]. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978)
[ 5 ]. Art,2.
[ 6 ]. Lamar Williamson, Mark. (Atlanta: J. Knox, 1983)
[ 7 ]. Lamar Williamson, Mark. (Atlanta: J. Knox, 1983)
[ 8 ]. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text. 1978
[ 9 ]. Lamar Williamson, Jesus of the Gospels and the Christian Vision of Shalom. Horizons in Biblical Theology (1984): 49-66.
[ 10 ]. Williamson, Jesus of the Gospels, 52.
[ 11 ]. Wayne Jackson, Examining the Gospels.
[ 12 ]. Williamson, Jesus of the Gospels, 52.
[ 13 ]. Richard Hordern, The Gospel of Peace: Theological Reflections in the Nuclear Age. (Union Seminary Quarterly:1984) 115-26.
[ 14 ]. Wayne Jackson, Examining the Gospels.
[ 15 ]. Wayne Jackson, Examining the Gospels.
[ 16 ]. Wayne Jackson, Examining the Gospels .
[ 17 ]. Howard Marshall, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978.
[ 18 ]. Albert Kirk & Robert Obach, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. (New York: Paulist 1978).
[ 19 ]. Lamar Williamson, Mark. (Atlanta: J. Knox, 1983).
[ 20 ]. Richard Hordern, 1984, 115-26.

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