Sleeping Below Deck
Jonah 1 and Mark 4 present two similar events: men in a boat, crossing a sea, one sleeping below deck. A storm comes to both, and the crew wakes the sleeper, who provides the solution to calm the sea. Jonah and Jesus, though positioned identically in the vessels, were far from the same.
God sent Jonah to Nineveh to cry against it; God would destroy them if they did not repent (Jon. 1:1; 3:10). Rather than give hope to the enemy, Jonah fled to Tarshish, the furthest port known at the time (Jon. 1:2; 4:1-2). On the boat, Jonah went down to sleep. He was rebelling against God’s instruction and wanted to escape God altogether (Jon. 1:10). The storm came to Jonah’s boat to call him to repent.
Jesus was resting below deck after a day of teaching through parables (Mark 4:34-35). He willingly obeyed the commands of God. Every circumstance was an opportunity for Jesus to display the truth and power of God to those who were near (cf. John 9:3). Jesus knew that God was with Him, not against Him. For Jesus, the storm was one more opportunity to display the power of God and the peace provided to the faithful.
God drew people to Himself through both sleepers and both storms (Jon. 1:16; Mark 4:41). Jonah was thrown overboard and swallowed by a fish for three days and nights. He spent much time praying before he reluctantly obeyed God’s command (Jon. 1:17; 2:1ff). Jesus, on the other hand, commanded the storm to cease by the power of God (Mark 4:39).
Storms are raging today, and not just the physical type. Pray to God during the storm and receive peace as you obey His commands (Phil. 4:6-7). Don’t make God throw you overboard before you are willing to follow Him.