Commentary from THE ANNOTATED
BOOK OF COMMON
PRAYEREdited by JOHN HENRY BLUNT
Rivingtons, London, 1884
FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY.
Our Lord Jesus is on this Sunday commemorated as the Saviour of all from
every danger, as well as the Saviour of the diseased and infirm from the
bodily afflictions which happen to human nature. It is not now a
leper or a paralytic, but strong and hale men who are in need of His help.
And yet, though no horrible or painful disease afflicts them, they could
not be in any more hopeless or helpless condition than when at sea in an
open boat at the mercy of a tempest. He was, doubtless, revealing
to them the true source of their safety, - His presence, which makes an
Ark of the Church. He was asleep, and they had little faith, and
the storm was violent; and the ship being "covered with the waves," we
may well suppose that the danger was, from a human point of view, extreme.
Christ reveals to the Apostles that the human point of view takes in a
very small part of the whole prospect by manifesting forth His authority
over the winds and the waves, and showing them that His Presence could
preserve them, because it is the Presence of God.
The miracle of casting out the devils from the two possessed Gergesenes,
carries on the parabolical teaching of the storm and its subjugation, by
showing that the power of Christ extends not only over natural elements
and forces, but over supernatural beings. And hence the Lord of the
Church is continually declaring to us, that though it may be tempest-tossed
on the waves of the world, He can ensure its safety; and that though evil
spirits oppose it with all the array of their power, yet "the gates of
Hell shall not prevail against it."
The Epistle for this Sunday was altered in 1549, because it coincided
with that for the first Sunday in Advent. In the Mozarabic rite it
is taken from Romans vii, which, seems once to have been coexistent with