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Mark weaves a magnificent and profound play on words in the last few verses of his account of Jesus’ calming the storm:

And he [Jesus] awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who is this, that even wind and sea obey him?” (Mark 4:39-41)

The word Jesus uses to accuse his disciples of being “afraid” in v. 40 is deilos, and it means something along the lines of timidity–in fact, the ESV translates the word as “cowardly” in Rev. 21:8 (see more: Thayer’s Lexicon).

But, the word used to describe the reaction to Jesus’ calming the storm is a different word entirely: phobos, from which we get our word “phobia.” This word, on the other hand, means fear, dread, or terror–no mere timidity here (Thayer’s Lexicon). More than that, the word is actually repeated to intensify the meaning: “they feared a great fear.” And this from Jesus’ protection–shudder at the thought of facing Jesus’ wrath!

Don’t kid yourself–the timidity you experience in the face of even the most life-threatening storms in life are nothing compared to the terror that Jesus will inspire on the last day when he judges the wicked. The great news of the gospel is that Jesus has pledged in his own blood that he will not turn away any who plead to him for mercy.

So, let me plead with you: kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you perish in the way.

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