I have an imagination that occasionally needs to be fed, and a sense of humor that is usually not far from the surface of my day-to-day interactions with people. I got thinking one day after reading Mark 4:39 what might have transpired on the boat between the time they set sail and the calming of the storm. You will have to forgive my taking liberty with the gospel of Mark, as I’m not certain I should be putting words in the mouth of Jesus or the Apostles, but here I sit having done just that. With a sense of humor in a world that is at times all too serious, I offer what most certainly did not transpire before the storm hit. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…
The Immature Apostles
As the day wore on Jesus began to tire, suggesting he and the Apostles head across the sea. “Hey guys, listen up. I’m beat, the sun is going down, and I think I’ve finished the job here. Let’s head across to the other side.”
Nodding with fan-boy agreement the Apostles set course. Deciding it was time to turn in for the night, Jesus stood extending his arms over his head stretching his tired, aching body. With arms over head, a man from a near by boat saw Jesus, mistaking his stretch as a “V” for victory, shouted above the waves, “Victory will be yours!”
The message lost in the water’s expanse, John shouted, “What?! We can’t hear you!”
Unable to hear either, the exuberant boater held a hand to his ear, shook his head, and shrugged. James jabbed John’s rib-cage with a bony elbow, “Speak up little man. Dude can’t hear a word you’re saying.”
More forcefully this time John yelled “I SAID, WE CAN”T HEAR YOU!”
Now the other Apostles on the boat, tired and irritable, began to get annoyed with John who wouldn’t let the matter go. In particular Judas, who shot John a nasty look and snarled, “Hey listen, would you keep it down? That guy can’t hear a word you are saying, but we sure can!”
Jumping into the conversation while still stretching, Jesus replied, “He said victory will be mine. It’s a nice gesture, really. He’s right you know, victory will be mine.” as his torso twisted and turned.
Offering a reaction akin to having struck gold, the Apostles all laughed and began dancing around, chest-bumping, and high-fiving each other, when Jesus shot back, “Would you guys grow up! In the end, we…meaning me…will be victorious. Until then there is no excuse to get silly. How about a little less clowning; this is serious business.”
Feeling a little ashamed with his head hung low, Bartholomew said, “You’re right. Jesus, we should know better.”
Simon shoved him saying, “Hey Bart! Don’t you talk like that!”
“What? What did I say? Wait. Did you just call me ‘Bart’?”
Clearing the air in a matter of fact way, Simon offered, “You said, ‘Jesus, we should know better;’ you can’t use his name like that.”
A little annoyed Jesus said “Hello Simon! For starters, don’t talk about me like I’m not here, remember, I’m everywhere. I’m God. Secondly, he used my name as a noun not an adjective. I can see how you’d get confused with this…look fellas, I’m tired. Would you all just keep it down while I try to get some rest? I’ve got a lot of work to do in a short period of time,” chuckling he continued, “If you were smart you’d get some rest too. You’re gonna need it.”
Thadaeus inquired Jesus, “What is that supposed to mean?”
“I’ll tell you more later but now I’m tired, and frankly, the way you are all acting I’m not going to get all holy with you for a while.”
“Okay. Thanks Jesus.” The Apostles quieted as they settled down to the peaceful sounds of the creaking hull, and gentle waves slapping the sides of the boat.
Moments later came the muffled voice of Thadaeus, “Good night Simon.”
“Good night Thad.”
Thadaeus continued, “Good night Drew. By the way Simon, my name is Thadaeus.”
Cutting Thadaeus off, Andrew said, “Hey Thad, my name is ANDREW!”
Now angry, Jesus rolled over, “Will you all please be quiet! Seriously, if there is one thing I’ll say that isn’t in parable, you’ve all got to knock it off! Does that register with you?” Jesus, mumbled to himself, “Oy Vey, new Apostles.”
“Sorry Jesus. We’re all a little tired.” Phillip patted Jesus on the shoulder and promised that he and the others would behave.
“You are forgiven, Phillip. I’ll see you in the morning.” and Jesus returned to his slumber.
Mathew, winning the right to steer the boat when they all cast lots, started strutting about looking more chicken than victor. Though his distress became more evident as he’d never captained a boat before, Peter offered to show him how to steer, “Just follow that star. If you need to go left, turn right. If you need to go right, turn left.”
“Whoa partner! I worked in the tax office stealing people’s mon…I mean collecting taxes. I’ve never done any work like this before. I have no idea what you just said. So I turn left to go right, and vice versa? No wonder you fisherman-folk are so weird. You do everything backwards!”
“Listen, if you want me to take the second shift tonight you’d better be nice to me, or you’ll end up having to dock this boat on your own in the morning. Do you know how embarrassed Jesus would be if you beached the boat and got us stuck? I think Jesus would be a little miffed don’t you? Plus, a sinking boat doesn’t help the mystique he’s trying to build. If you want that responsibility then keep pushing me, you’ll see what happens.”
Pondering the thought of having to dock the boat in front of all those people was enough to get Mathew thinking clearly. “Fine. I’m sorry. You have to admit this whole blindly-following-Jesus thing is tough for us all. Intriguing, but tough. By the way Jesus doesn’t need to build a mystique. Remember, he’s God.”
“What ever Matt, just steer the boat.”
“Okay. And by the way Peter, the name is Mathew, not Matt.”
“Okay Mathew. Have it your way. Just don’t sink us.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t. If anything exciting happens I’ll tell you about it in the morning.”
“Spare me your stories; write a book instead.”
“Hmm, good idea. Maybe I’ll do that.”
The novice captain began to steer the boat as Jesus and the Apostles dozed as the sun set with open, empty water ahead. Boredom began to set in. Making large, sweeping turns left, then right, then back again, the other boats following dodged the newly crowned Captain Mathew and his nautical miscues with bewilderment. Put off by the boat Jesus was traveling in, one man commented to another, “Who is driving that boat? They must be drunk!”
Steeped in passing the time away with his wide turns, Mathew was unaware of the waters increasing volatility. Pitching up and down they rode the increasingly large swells causing first Thomas then Andrew to wake; both men succumbing to sea sickness. Peter soon came laughingly to his brothers aide, “Having a tough time there, tiger?” The ashen look on Andrew’s face showed things weren’t going well; he looked right through his brother before getting sick all over Peter’s tunic. Peter, a known sympathy puker, reacted in kind. It was an awful sight, and a terrible mess. The games had quickly come to an end as the green and yellowed-hued Apostles slid around the boat questioning their own mortalities.
All worried and quite sick, the Apostles wondered aloud as to what they should do. All the while Jesus slept peacefully at the stern. Wiping his face with his sleeve, Peter said to the others, “Well guys, I’m scared. This boat is filling with water, which by my estimation means we’re going to sink. Do any of you in your infinite wisdom have any bright ideas?”
“Judas, wake Jesus up and ask him what we should do.” said Andrew.
“I’m not going to wake him up! You wake him up!”
Andrew fired back, “Phil, you wake him up. You were the one he forgave earlier. He’s not going to get mad at you.”
“No, no, no, no. For starters, my name is Phillip, not Phil, and I just got back into his good graces. You’re crazy if you think I’m going to-” before Phillip could finish his sentence a wave crashed over him knocking him squarely into the others. Time was running out. In agreement of a joint effort, all the Apostles sloshed over to Jesus to wake him.
Bartholomew, gently tapping the shoulder of Jesus to no avail was forcefully shoved out of the way by Peter, “Jesus! The storm is going to sink us!”
Rolling over to see the faces of 12 scared, sickly men staring at him, Jesus had the look of an angry father whose children had found his last nerve. He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, “Peace, be still.” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. “Look, why is it you’re all so scared? Do you have no faith in me at all?” With those words he surveyed the astonished men, then the quiet sea. “I’m going back to bed. Given what just happened I’m pretty sure there won’t be any more reason to wake me again. Am I right? Good then, we all understand each other.”
With that Jesus sat, the water squashing as he settled into the sopping cushion. He rang the water from his robe, shook out his hair, and gave one more look at the Apostles, winked, and went back to sleep.
Peter whispered to the others, “Wow. That guy just stopped a storm dead in it’s tracks. I wonder if we ought to pay more attention to who he says he is,” then politely asked Mathew, “Do you, uh, want me to take over and steer?”
“Yes Peter, that would be nice. Why don’t you do that.” The rest of the Apostles stood in stunned silence, marveling at what they had just witnessed.
I have always found it rather odd that the Apostles worked so hard to try to get it right when Jesus was with them, yet they didn’t. It isn’t until the book of Acts that we see them really become bold men of God, blessed with the Holy Spirit. Again, if I have offended I certainly didn’t intend to, but I just couldn’t help myself. I hope you enjoyed. Until next time.