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OK, full disclosure: writing two blogs is the last thing I’m doing before loading the car to go on my vacation.  So, what does a theology professor think about before going on vacation? . . . The role of rest and recreation to refresh the body, mind, and soul is what I’m thinking about.

These two blogs will compare two instances in Jesus’ ministry when falling asleep out of exhaustion became controversial.

I look at Jesus, and see that He, too, needed rest. Matthew 8, Mark 4, and Luke 8 all record the incident in which Jesus fell asleep in the boat when a storm came up. They all mention some aspect of the series of events that transpired before the disciples and Jesus set sail that day; He’d taught under challenge by the Pharisees; His own family seemed to question His judgment and ministry and even His legitimacy.  He’d healed a bunch of people, a ministry that seemed to proliferate somewhat to His frustration even — people seemed to treat Him like an ATM for discomfort relief.  He was exhausted.

They pushed off from shore and Jesus caught a nap. And then the storm came. The disciples awakened Him — but hardly with a gentle touch. “Don’t you care that we’re dying here!!!???”  Anybody ever get that kind of a wake up call?

He rubbed His eyes, looked around and sized up the situation.  He solved the problem with a word (yeah, I’m not going to be able to match His effectiveness there, I’m afraid).  And turned to the disciples and provided a teaching moment.  “What are you so afraid of? . . .”

If the ministry of God, the Kingdom of Christ, the crises of the world, could go on fine with Jesus asleep . . . I’m thinking the world will survive if I take some time off, too.  My obsession with “having to do it or it won’t get done” gets rebuked right along with the disciples.

I also notice that no matter how tired or how exhausted Jesus got, He never lost His cool. And He always seemed to have time among the clamoring masses of needy people to do “just one more” without giving the next one the proverbial slam of door in the face or even an understandably harsh word. 

“What are you so afraid of?” is as pointed as He gets.  It’s a pointed enough question — that does kind of haunt you.  At least it does me.  How about it workaholic pastor, anxious laborer in the field, stressed out student.  What are you so afraid of?  Water coming in over the sides of the boat, you couldn’t be safer . . . if you’ve got Jesus asleep in the stern.  And if He can handle it with a snooze, maybe we don’t have so much to be so worked up about either.


Todd Mangum is the Academic Dean and Professor of Theology at Biblical.  He is ordained by the Southern Baptist Convention.  Todd is the author of The Dispensational-Covenantal Rift, and of several articles seeking to bridge divides among Bible-believing Christians. He is married to Linda and they have three sons.  See also http://www.biblical.edu/index.php/todd-mangum

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