Yesterday, our sermon at church was about Mark 4:35-41. This is the story of Jesus calming the storm. I have heard this story a million times. I have seen various art works depicting this scene. Despite seeing and hearing this story, I never really gave a lot of thought to the specifics of this story, and how it might apply to my life. This story has so many implications for us, if we choose to listen to it. I am not a trained biblical scholar. I am just a person who is learning the bible and sharing with you the insights that I have observed.
I am including the scriptures for reference. These are in the NIV version.
“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.”
The first thing that I notice in this passage is that Jesus wants to leave the crowds of this side of the lake, to go to the side of the less crowded. Why would he want to do this? I imagine that having constant followers could be very taxing on him. In this particular case, Jesus wanted to get away from the crowds so that he could have some time. In our fast-paced lives, we are always on the go. With this, we always must be “on”. It feels as if we always have someone to impress, and if we appear like anything less than perfect, that we are failures. Sometimes, this pressure causes us to be overwhelmed, and in those moments, we need to have some “me time”. It is okay for us to take time away from the masses for ourselves. We don’t always have to be available. We don’t have to be connected. We need to leave the masses and find times for ourselves. Our mental health relies on it.
“There were also other boats with him.”
Jesus didn’t leave all the crowd. He still had some boats with him. He had a core group of people he relied on and trusted. This is evidenced throughout much of the Gospels, and we call these people his disciples. If Jesus, being as perfect and miraculous as he was, needed a group of people, why would we be any different? We are social creatures. We need a core group that we can trust. This can be family, or friends. We need people that we can rely on, confide in, and be blessed by.
“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.”
Any time I have heard this story, I did not give credit to the storm that was occurring. I have lived in Kentucky all my life. We have some pretty intense storms, including tornadoes. I have never been in a hurricane, but I have been in a tropical storm. The winds and rains that occurred during this tropical storm was horrendous. Yesterday, when describing this storm that would have taken place, it was compared to that of a hurricane. I never imagined this. I pictured your typical, every day thunderstorm that would cause the waves of the lake to be unpleasant. The image that I now have is that these waves would have been colossal. The winds and rain would have been unlike anything I have ever seen before. In this midst of this storm, this group of people are out in the water in boats. The waves would have tossed the boat around. It was taking on water, and they were afraid. Probably more afraid than at any other time of their life.
“Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.”
As this storm occurred, Jesus slept. We have all been awakened by loud cracks of thunder. The fact that Jesus could sleep during this storm, shows how tired he must have been. This goes to the first point. There are times when we just need to unwind. We think of Jesus as being so much more than just a man, and he was, but he was also a man and had the same needs that we have. He needed sleep. So, in the midst of this intense storm, he slept.
“The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
It was during this time that the disciples called out to him. They questioned him and asked him if he cared if they drowned. Two things strike me about this. The first is that they called out to him. In our lives, we should call out to Jesus when storms arise. However, we should also call out to him during the calm as well. He doesn’t just want a relationship with us during the monsoon season, but also when the waves are calm and all is well. The second thing that I can’t help but think about is that they question whether Jesus cared for them. How many times have we wondered the same thing? When we go through tough times, we question why he lets these things happen. We question whether he cares. Yet, we have this man whose purpose in life was to come and be crucified, not for his sins, but for ours. He would be tortured and knew this. He did this because he loves us, and so that we can experience forgiveness, and yet, we question whether her cares for us. We don’t question this when the waters are calm, but only in the storms. We have this notion that our lives should be perfect, and we don’t stop to think that if Jesus suffered, why should we be any different? If his life wasn’t perfect, why should ours? He was mocked, bullied, tortured. He experienced betrayal, and loss. He had to hide who he was and tell others to no speak of the miracles he did. His life was hard.
“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.”
After being awoken, Jesus said a few simple words. “Quiet. Be still.” The waves calmed and the storm stopped. With just his voice, he was able to calm the most intense of storms in the matter of seconds. This same power that he has, also lives in us. Jeremy Camp sings the song “The Same Power” and it really helps me find the strength that I need to face tasks that worry me. It’s my anthem song, and I have to remind myself daily that I am capable to face anything because Jesus is there with me.
“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!”
After the waves calmed, Jesus responded by asking them if they have no faith. He questioned his disciples. He questioned his core group and asked if they have no faith. If he questioned them, what is he going to ask me? I question him countlessly. I have left him when things were not what I wanted. I forget to pray. When I am to face my maker, you can be sure that he is going to question me. He is going to ask me of the times when I turned from him, and I will have to account for this.
This small section of scripture has made me think about so many things in the past day. Much of which I have shared with you. In life we are going to have storms. They are going to come out of nowhere. They are going to be brutal and we are going to feel like we are sinking. In those times, when life is hard, we must remember that Jesus is with us. He can and will calm the storm. We must have faith.