Facing Storms in Life: Mark 4:37-41
“And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”” Mark‬ ‭4‬:‭37‬-‭41‬
As they were crossing the Sea of Galilee, Jesus took the opportunity to catch some needed sleep. His intense ministry schedule was exhausting. His humanity had the same needs for rest and good nutrition that you and I have.
Crossing the sea was an easy task for His disciples. Four of them were experienced fishermen and mariners. They were back in their own environment. I’m sure they even offered Jesus the sleeping cushion and assured Him they had everything under control. He fell into a sound sleep.
Soon a fierce gale of wind came upon them. Waves were beating over the bow and they were taking on water quicker than they could bail. The boat was filling with water. They were loosing control. They were close to perishing. Panic seized them.
Meanwhile, Jesus was peacefully sleeping on the cushion platform in the back of the boat. Question: Are you ever caught in a life crisis and wonder if God even notices?
As a last resort, they awoke Jesus and said to Him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” The statement was emphatic; “We are perishing!” In other words; “ We are going to die!” That was it. They didn’t even ask Him to save them. They were fixated on a natural perspective.
This was the ultimate test of their theology. If Jesus was a mere man, maybe the expected Him to grab a bucket and help them bail water. I’m not sure from the context they even considered the “God option.” They were about to discover His true identity. What Jesus did absolutely shocked them.
Jesus being aroused from His sleep spoke to the wind and the sea. He gave them a command. He simply said; “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. At His command the storm immediately ended.
The He asked them two questions; “Why are you so timid? How is it that you have no faith?” In other words, “Why did you face the storm with a physical response and didn’t even consider a faith response?” He marveled that they only considered the natural or physical options. Fear always nullifies faith. The opposite is also true.
Instead of answering His question, they became very much afraid at His demeanor. They had witnessed a phenomenon miracle and they each recognized the implication of what just happened. The said to one other, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
Think about the progressive revelation into the true identity of Jesus Christ they had witnessed in recent weeks. He had authority in His preaching and teaching. He had authority over unclean spirits and demons. He had authority over fever, sickness, disease, leprosy and paralysis. He had authority to forgive sin and to heal on the Sabbath. But this was a new level of authority.
They were dumbfounded by what they had just witnessed. Jesus also had authority over the natural forces of fierce winds and waves. They were all wrestling with the same question; “Who is this guy?”
That was the preliminary question they needed to settle before they were ready to answer His two questions to them. He had given them His authority, but they were not ready to apply the good fight of faith to every life circumstance until they resolved His true identity mystery.
The same is true of you and me. We will always respond naturally and carnally until we fully comprehend our true identity and authority “in Christ.” We will forever be frantically grabbing buckets to bail water in the flesh, rather than speaking to our storms in the name and authority of Jesus Christ.
As I read this story, they were astonished by what Jesus did in calming the storm. Jesus on the other hand was equally astonished that they were so timid that they didn’t even consider standing in their faith and the authority that He had given them in facing this storm. He was implying that they could have done the same thing He did in the story, but they were too timid to even try. They didn’t even consider the faith option.
I confess, this story provokes me especially when I analyze the two questions that Jesus asked them. Sadly, they were so amazed by the miracle that they missed His questions. He was trying to teach them a profound truth about faith and authority and how to face storms in life. But they totally missed it!
I will go no deeper at this time except to refer you to 2 Corinthians 10:2-5. It appears that Paul got it. He was living on the level Jesus was trying to build into His disciples. He was living on the level of faith and not fear. He faced his battles through the divine authority and power given him “in Christ.”
But you protest; “Why then did Paul not calm the storm in Acts 27?” I respond; “His faith did bring him through the storm and spared the 276 people traveling with him. It also resulted in reaching the Island of Malta with the Gospel and Paul’s eventual safe arrival in Rome with many open doors among Roman soldiers.”
Living on the level of faith doesn’t mean we don’t endure some storms in life. But it does mean our composure is different. We take bold “faith measures” in the face of the storm and it ensures supernatural outcomes with all glory going to Jesus! Are you living by faith or fear?
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global