Mark 4:35-41 (International Standard Version)
A powerful scene is depicted in Mark 4:35 through 41 (International Standard Version):
That day, when evening had come, ...[Jesus] told [His disci- ples]..., “Let's cross to the other side.” So they...took Him away in a boat without making any special preparations. Other boats were with Him. A violent windstorm came up, and the waves began breaking into the boat, so that the boat was rapidly becoming swamped. But Jesus was in the back of the boat, asleep on a cushion. So they woke Him up and asked Him, “Teacher, don't you care that we're going to die?” Then He got up, rebuked the wind, and told the sea, “Calm down! Be still!” Then the wind stopped blowing, and there was a great calm. He asked them, “Why are you such cowards? Don't you have any faith yet?” Overcome with fear, they kept saying to one another,“Who is this man? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
Why were the disciples so afraid?
- Yes, it was a powerful storm! The waves were washing over the gunnels of the boat, and, as we are told in verse 37, “…the boat was rapidly becoming swamped…”!
- At least four of the disciples were fishermen (see Mark 1:16-20), and possibly seven (see John 21:1-4). They plied their trade on the Sea of Galilee, so they knew that body of water well, including its violent storms!
From the website of The Deseret News, “Storms Are Common on the Sea of Galilee ”:
Being about 680 feet below sea level, the body of water becomes quite warm during certain times. Cold air rush- ing down from the sharply rising hills meets the warm air rising from the water. The result is a sudden and violent storm.
• The disciples were fearful, thinking they would all drown!
Somewhere in my reading, I gleaned an argument that should have bolstered the disciples faith! Hadn’t Jesus told them, as they started out, “Let’s cross to the other side.”?
- He did not say, “Well, climb in the boat, fellas. We will try to make it to the other side – no guarantees though!” No, He plainly told them, “Let’s cross to the other side.”
- Jesus is the Son of God, God the Son! We are told in John 2:24, “…Jesus…knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.” When He called Nathanael as His disciple in John 1:47 through 51, The Lord’s knowing was demonstrated in their interaction:
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus an- swered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael an- swered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these....Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
Jesus even knew what Nathanael was contemplating as he sat under the fig tree! Nathanael was deeply thinking about Jacob’s dream as recorded in Genesis 28:12: “Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” How do I know that was what Nathaniel was thinking? Jesus told him in verse 51, “…you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” Same subject, same unusual order – angels first ascending, then descending!
All that to say, Jesus knew exactly what would happen on the Sea of Galilee!
- He knew the storm was coming, and He knew its intensity!
- He knew how the disciples would react!
- And He knew they would “…cross to the other side…,” making it in spite of the storm!
And so the disciples were rebuked! “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith yet?”
- …faith that they would reach their destination, because Jesus had said so!
- …faith that the One they followed had the power and ability to handle any obstacle that arose!
I must say that I think I would have responded to the situation much as did the disciples! As they were, so am I – a work in progress!
But let’s see if we can understand His promises with a more positive and obedient mindset:
- Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you….I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20). Do you, do I, really know He is always here with us – with me?
- He quieted His anxious followers eleven times in the gospels with words that included peace (see for instance Luke 24:36; John 16:33; 20:26). His presence should bring His followers peace!
Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6 and 7 that if we give our hard situations over to God, “…by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving….the peace of God…will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Do we believe that? Do we experience that?
- The Lord tells us in Luke 6:38 (Easy-to-Read Version):
“Give to others, and you will receive. You will be given much. It will be poured into your hands--more than you can hold. You will be given so much that it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you.”
Do we give abundantly and cheerfully (see I I Corinthians 9:6, 7) knowing that God will give back all that we need? (see Matthew 6:33; Philippians 4:19).
- In Hebrews 4:14 through 16, we are assured that Jesus has, in one way or another, experienced every trial, every hard thing that can touch our lives! And He says, “…come boldly to the throne of grace, that [you]…may obtain favor and find grace to help in time of need.” But do we come to Him in those needy times? And do we come just in those needy times? For He wants us to talk with Him continually! (see Luke 18:1; I Thessalonians 5:17).
- In Mark 12:30, Jesus plainly quoted Deuteronomy 6:5 as the great commandment: “…you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” And in John 14:15 the Lord equated such love to obedience! “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” We say that we love Him, but do we obey Him…with all…our heart, with all…our soul, with all…our mind, and with all…our strength…“?
There are so many ways we are challenged to trust the Lord Jesus Christ! Don’t be like the disciples, scared out of their wits when a storm hit!
The Savior is with you!
And He controls
even the wind and the waves of life!