The best insurance in the world

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 17, 2019

We’re a sleepy nation—one third of all Americans nap every day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 83.6 million Americans don’t get enough rest. Older folks are often sleep-deprived because of illness and medication says the National Sleep Foundation. Younger Americans may simply have too many demands on their time.

Ever wonder if Jesus napped? Can you think of any scene like that in the Bible?

Three Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, describe one instance—a famous moment in Scripture. I’ll show it to you in Mark’s Gospel since Mark tells us more about that nap than the other two.

Understand that Mark tells his stories fast—you can barely catch your breath. In chapter one Mark covers Jesus’ baptism, Satan’s testing, the calling of the first disciples, and Jesus’ preaching and healing throughout the region. That’s all in chapter one!

Before the first chapter of Mark ends, Jesus is so inundated by crowds He can no longer enter a town. Instead, He stays outside in lonely places, and even there the crowds besiege Him. (Mark 1:45)

By chapter three, Jesus is an international sensation —people from surrounding countries like Tyre and Sidon are seeking Him. And the situation has become dangerous—Jesus risks being crushed by those trying to touch Him, hoping to be healed.

Our Lord asks His disciples to ready a small boat so He can teach from it, keeping the crowds on land from overtaking Him. It’s from that  boat that Jesus tells the famous parable of the Sower and the Seed, where worries and cares choke the word of God. (Mark 3:8ff)

When evening comes, Jesus tells His disciples to head across the Sea of Galilee. Even so, boats follow our Lord. As I said, Jesus is inundated.

All three gospel writers tell us that this is when Jesus lies down for a nap. This is also where Mark slows down.

Many scholars believe Mark wrote for Peter, and you can almost hear Peter recounting the scene, remembering how exhausted Jesus was. Peter vividly shares details the other Gospels don’t have. Peter remembers how Jesus had gone to the rear of the boat and that Jesus laid His head on a cushion. Although Mark writes urgently and has the shortest Gospel, Mark takes the time to share these touching details.

As Jesus naps, a furious storm arises and wild waves break over the boat, swamping the disciples. They cry out for Jesus, and our Lord stands and says to the storm, “Quiet! Be still!”

Yes, you remember this scene. The winds immediately obey Jesus as He calms the sea.

But the storm isn’t what’s on Jesus mind when He awakens. What else does He say?

Think for a second. Our Lord sees something important which is just as important today.

Here it is:

Jesus looks at His men. The disciples have seen countless miracles, and yet they don’t know who Jesus is. He says, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”

Why are we so afraid?

I write often about faithfulness because it’s a theme from Genesis to Revelation—God keeps saying, “Trust me.” And for good reason. We chart our course, even our sleep, by our faith!

Reality overwhelmed the disciples and they panicked. We do that, too. But listen to God’s promises:

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.” (Genesis 28:15)

“Do not fear, for…I am your God…” (Isaiah 41:10)

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5, Joshua 1:5)

“For I know the plans I have for you…plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Your may feel overwhelmed by one storm after another, but God is with you. The disciples didn’t grasp that. They were traveling with the very best insurance—nothing could harm the ship carrying the Son of God. Their boat was unsinkable! 

And so is yours.

Trust the Lord and sleep easy. Keep His promises on your desk, refrigerator, and bathroom mirror. Place them wherever you can see them throughout your day.

God is the best insurance you can have. With Jesus on board, nothing will ever sink your ship.

© 2018, 2019 R.A. Mathews  The Rev. Mathews is an attorney, faith columnist,  and the author of “Reaching to God.” She may be reached at letters@ramathews.com