Mark and the Ark

The Book of Mark is unraveled using... Noah’s ark. This article explains.

Mark begins the second in his quartet of super stories by recounting the story of Jesus calming the winds and the waves. This story opens the quartet and establishes the theme that each parable will be based on: Crossing the Sea of Galilee by boat.

35That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." 36Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"

39He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" Mark 4:35-40 NIV

35And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?Not sure how you want to tag "is it that" Mark 4:35-40 KJV

The most famous boat in all of the Bible is the Noah’s Ark. No other boat plays a prominent role in the historical account of the Bible. Each time Mark references a boat throughout this section of his story he is referring to Noah’s Ark. Mark’s reference to the other boats[1] are his clue that other boats are part of this story. Which boats? The other boat references that he will use across the next 4 chapters.

In this particular parable Jesus and the disciples are riding together with Jesus in the boat. The storm builds just like the events in Noah’s story where the heavens burst forth and the world was covered with water. Here in Mark’s parable the boat itself fills with water so the disciples believe they will perish in the storm. This is what happened to everyone except Noah and his family during the flood.

Jesus remains at the rudder, though asleep, in Mark’s parable. In the original account of Noah’s flood, God sealed Noah into the Ark. In both cases it appears God himself is steering, though he never speaks in either case.

Eventually the disciples gain Jesus’ attention and he rebukes the wind and the waves, leading to a great calm. In Noah’s case the storm subsides as well as Noah interacts with God at the end of the historical flood.

At the end of this ride across the Sea of Galilee, Jesus asks the disciples about their faith. Faith, properly defined, is our ability to see into the future things which Jesus has revealed will happen, but are not yet. In Noah’s case it took great faith to understand the world could be rebuilt, though at the time it was a muddy mess.



1. Mark 4:36