“They took him even as he was in the ship… and he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow.” Marc 6:36-38
I’m reading a book of sermons by Alexander Mclaren, D.D., and he brings out the point that the reason that Christ was asleep, and sleeps through the storm, is that he is simply exhausted --- “They took him even as he was into the ship.” And many expositors suppose that in the very form of that phrase there is suggested the extreme of weariness and exhaustion which He suffered, after the hard day’s toil. Whether that be so or no, the swiftness of the move to the little boat, although there was nothing in the nature of danger or of imperative duty to hurry them away, and His going on board without a moments preparation, leaving the crowd on the beach, seems most naturally accounted for by supposing that He had come to the last point of physical endurance, and that His frame, worn out by the hard day’s work, needed one thing – rest.
And so, the next thing we see of Him is that, as soon as He gets into the ship He falls fast asleep….. so tired that the storm does not wake Him.
The author goes on to point out that the book of Marc is a book showing Christ’s servant hood. In addition he points out some of the following regarding Christ arduous ministry —
“ The first of them I would suggest is—how distinctly it gives the impression of swift strenuous work. The narrative of Mark is brief and condensed. We feel all through these earlier chapters at all events, the presence of the pressing crowd coming to Him and desiring to be healed. And but a word can be spared for each incident as the story hurries on, trying to keep pace with His rapid service of quick-springing compassion and under laying help. There is one word which is reiterated over and over again in these earlier chapters, remarkably conveying this impression of haste and strenuous work. Mark’s favorite word is “straightway,” “immediately,” “forthwith,” “anon,” which are all translations of one expression. You will find if you glance over the first, second, or third chapters at your leisure, that it comes in at every turn.
Take these instances which strike one’s eye at the moment, “straightway they forsook their nets;” Straightway he entered into the synagogue;” Immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region;” “ Forthwith they entered into the house of Simon’s mother;” “anon, they tell him of her;” “Immediately the fever left her.” And so it goes on through the whole story, a picture of a constant succession of rapid acts of mercy and love. The story seems, as it were, to pant with haste to keep up with him as He moves among men, swift as the sunbeam, and continuous in the out flow of His love as these unceasing rays! “
….We see in Christ, toil that puts aside the claims o physical wants. Twice in this Gospel we read of this. “The multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.” “There were many coming and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”
We see in Christ’s service a love which is at every man’s beck and call, a toil cheerfully rendered at that most unreasonable and unseasonable times. As I said a moment ago, this Gospel makes you feel, as none other of these narratives do, the pressure of that ever-present multitude, the whirling excitement that there was round the calm center. Even in His solitary prayer He is broken in upon by His disciples, with “All men seek for thee,” and without murmur or a pause, He buckles to His work again, and says, “Let us go into the next towns that I may preach there also; for therefore am I sent.”
I was taken by this because I don’t often see the humanity of Christ in such a relatable way. I always thought He slept in the boat undisturbed by the storm because He was so God-like, not that He was so exhausted. I like that.