That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:35-41
This short account ends with the words: “Who is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him.” The question of “who Jesus is…” or by extension “who God is” is a central piece of this account. Earlier in Mark, Jesus is shown as the one who has power over the demons, over the spirit world. In this account, it becomes clear to the disciples that Jesus also has power over all of nature.
So WHO, REALLY, is this Jesus? How we answer that question will have an impact on how we think about… and deal with – the inevitable “sudden storms” or difficult seasons that will arise in our lives. Will we respond with fear and anxiety… or react out of a sense of faith and trust in God?
Here’s a quick recap of the story:
- It’s the end of a long day of teaching (Jesus actually teaching from a boat because of the crowds)
- When evening comes they head for the other shore (along with some other boats)
- Suddenly a storm arises, the boat is almost swamped by waves
- The disciples (experienced fishermen) are afraid for their lives
- Complaint / accusation toward Jesus: “Don’t you care?!”
- Jesus calms the storm with words “Quiet! Be Still!”
- He then asks the disciples “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
- They are terrified – “Who is this? Even the winds and waves obey him!”
The sense of fear and awe at the end are a result of them realizing that Jesus is no ordinary person…. He is in control of the storm. Here are a few points to consider:
1. Our Natural Response to Storms
- Don’t you care?? Why me?
- God, have you forgotten me?
- How is this possible? God, you’re supposed to keep me safe!
- We didn’t sign up for this…
- These complaints / accusations are also common in OT. You’re in good company!
2. Jesus Has Power to Control Storms
- Quiet! Be Still!
- He is the Creator
- Offers the disciples a chance to consider:
- Why are you so afraid?
- Have you no faith yet? (Do you not yet realize yet who I am?)
3. The Truth About Jesus and Storms
- Storms (life’s difficulties) WILL come.
- They are NOT an anomaly – or a mistake….
- God has NEVER promised a storm-less life
- At no point – storm or calm – was Jesus absent from the disciples. He was with them in the boat. (It’s just that at first, that fact didn’t seem to make a big difference in their mood! They were still terrified!)
- He promises peace – and His presence – in the storm.
- When we realize WHO Jesus is / WHO God is… it changes how we perceive storms. Perhaps this is a life-long journey… but Jesus is inviting us to a life of faith, trust, and yes…. sleep – in the midst of our turbulence.
- Jesus promises to be with us, to stay with us, to walk with us
- Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”
- Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace the one whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
Which will we choose? Faith and trust…. or fear and anxiety?
(the above is a summary of the message shared during our zoom worship session on June 20, 2021.)