Mark 4:35-41 | "35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he 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?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
DREW: And that really does lead us into point number four. Some comments on Jesus and the storms of life. And the first subpoint -- I have three subpoints here -- is Jesus is present with us before, during, and after life’s storms. Verse 35 and 36, “On the day when evening had come, Jesus said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him” -- Jesus -- “with them in the boat, just as he was and other boats were with him.” He’s with them during the storm, verse 37. Let’s look at 38, “Jesus was in the stern asleep on the cushion. They awoke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And He’s with them after the storm. Verse 41, “When he calms the storm, they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” And then in 5, verse 1, “They came to the other side of the sea.”
Remember Hebrews 13:5, the Lord says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So remember Jesus is with us as we enter the storms of life. So it’s not -- oftentimes we think, or at least sometimes, that when a storm comes, ‘Lord, where are you?’ But if you look at this passage, Jesus accompanies the disciples, He’s with them, He’s asleep, and the storm arises and they are panicked. They know He’s there physically and you wonder would the temptation for them had been, because things were so bad for them, ‘Where is He? He’s here, but where is He? He’s not doing anything.’ And we have to remember that one of the great truths is that we’re temples of the Holy Spirit. God dwells within us. We’re the temples. He’s never going to leave us. So before the storm, in the midst of it, when He calms it, and as He takes us to the other side of it, He’s with us at the end where He’s been all along, and that’s right with us.
The second subpoint is Jesus uses life’s storms to remind us again of who He is. The Lord God calms the wind and the sea. Just as we looked at those Old Testament passages, oftentimes -- I know it’s true in my life -- when a storm comes and goes, I have a deeper and richer understanding of who God is and of His presence and of His provision for me in the midst of the storm, and as I’ve gone through the storm and come through it. And the storms drive us to Him for help, for peace, and for comfort. Sometimes they’re used to bring the Lord’s people back to Him. As we saw last week, He has come to seek and to save that which is lost. Once He finds us, He’ll use life’s challenges to bring us back if we’re kind of drifting away. So they increase our faith or they should. What kind of man is this that even the wind and the sea obey Him? Obviously, He’s more than just a man.
Let’s look at the third subpoint. Jesus has the power to calm life’s storms with a word, if He choses to do so. Verse 39, “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And there was a great calm.” Now, that’s a huge storm. Think about it. These disciples were fishermen and they’re used to the sea. The Sea of Galilee wasn’t that big, but it was big enough to scare the daylights out of the fishermen. Right? These men are panicking. Jesus wasn’t a fisherman in that sense, but He wasn’t scared. But what does He do? What does He say? He says, “Peace! Be still!” Three words and He calms a storm that scared the disciples out of their minds. It wasn’t hard for Him to calm one of the greatest storms that probably had ever come on a sea in scripture. A huge storm was over quickly. So when we go through challenges that we could call storms, God has the ability to cause those storms to cease with a word, but I think He’s waiting to see what our response is going to be. Who do we acknowledge Him to be? You know, we can bring what we’ve looked at together. Do we say, ‘Teacher, who is this man?’ We should be past that by now. We should be where Paul is in Colossians 1:15-20, “Through Him all things were made.” He’s the creator of the universe come in the flesh. He’s the redeemer of His people. He’s our substitute. He conquered death. He was resurrected. He ascended. He’s in heaven. He sent his Spirit. That’s what we believe Him to be and He’s always with us. So we have that and He has that great power to calm storms with a word, but He’ll let the storms continue to deepen our faith.
Well, I do have one more subpoint. In the middle of the storm, the disciples questioned Jesus’s care for them. Verse 38, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” A couple of things I’d like to mention here. In the middle of the storms, do we question Jesus’s care for us? Are we perishing? “Do you not care that we are perishing?” A couple of things. They called him Teacher, again, and it’s worth mentioning this. Who is Jesus in the midst of life’s storms? Jesus said, “Let us go across to the other side.” Is He going to fulfill what He said? It’s a statement that’s like a promise, “Let us go to the other side.” Are we going to go the other side like Jesus said in the midst of a storm? He calms the storm, they came to the other side just like He said. In our storms, He said, ‘I will be with you before, during, and after.’ He said, ‘Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ As His children, we’re going to be like Him and see Him face to face. We’re not going to perish. Jesus said, I have come into the world, I’ve given myself for you, I’ve died, I’ve been raised, you’re mine. I’ve put my Holy Spirit within you as a down payment of your glorious inheritance that is to come. How does that correspond with ‘Lord, don’t you care that we’re perishing’ in the midst of a storm?
So the focus for the disciples, just like for us, you know, is Jesus is with us, let us go to the other side. When we enter into a trial or a storm, we’re going to the other side of that storm. It may be death. Death doesn’t prevent us. The greatest storm is death, but He brings us right through that, because He conquered it. He arose the other side of it, and we’ll do the same. So, no, we’re not perishing and we would know that if we have called Him Lord and Savior and Messiah instead of just Teacher.
Do we question Jesus’s care for us in the middle of storms?
JOHN: We’ll question it for one reason, because we get angry. We do. We’ll get angry with Him, ‘Why do you put me through all these trials and tribulations?’ I think it’s there to make us better and stronger and come out of it whole on the other end of it and it helps us through our everyday life. So we should put our trust in Him, instead of getting angry at ourselves. It’s just like Moses and His people going around that mountain for forty years. I don’t like going around a mountain for forty years or my problems for forty years, so, you know, that’s the way I look at it.
DON: I’m not sure this is to your question, but it’s something that you pointed out. As we were studying and this you’re sharing your thoughts with us about the scripture, I realized that just a cursory or casual reading of this story, yeah, you get some fine points out of it, but when you start to think and process this situation that they were in, these were seasoned fishermen. They had been on the Sea of Galilee their whole life. They knew the storms that come and go. They’d been out there in the storms. I’m sure that they had their boats casually swamped at some point, but they’re in a storm now and they see this is beyond everything we’ve experienced and so they go to Jesus and they say, ‘Don’t you care we’re going to die?’ They knew that if something didn’t drastically change they were going down. And I can tell you because I’ve been on the Sea of Galilee, out in the middle you can’t see land except for maybe some high mountains, so you’re not swimming back to shore. So what we’re studying is a reminder to me don’t just casually read the Bible, because if you just casually read it, you’re not thinking about it, you’re not absorbing what Christ is trying to point out to you, what He’s trying to teach us. And so going to the point of going to God when that storm of life comes -- I mean, I know enough that when it comes that I need to step back and stop for a moment, but I’m just like everybody else. Sometimes all I see is the storm instead of seeing the Lord and His love for us and the knowledge that I already have that He will see me through this.
DREW: Great points. It’s easy to focus on the storm, because the consequences of the storm are real and the storm has a real effect on us that -- at least in the short term it does -- it’s not positive and I think that is the challenge. Obviously, their situation wasn’t an easy one, because that storm was massive.
PENNY: Well, it’s interesting. A couple of things came to my mind, but one is the storm awakens us. It awakens us to something we’re missing. God takes us through storms, because He’s drawing us closer to himself. But the second thing that’s interesting when you think about the disciples that is, it’s almost as if Jesus is gently leading them in the midst of this storm and saying, ‘You’re going to feel like you’re losing it now, but you’re really going to lose it to follow me.’ Because if you read the Book of Acts, they lost, but they won everything. So it’s kind of a powerful transformation when they look back and they must be thinking all the things that they learned with Jesus after the resurrection and understanding where they were as they were beginning the early church and just the beauty of understanding the beginnings -- the new beginnings that come out of storms. I can personally testify to that. So the new beginnings that come when everything is taken away and you can’t see -- just like those disciples -- you can’t see it at all, but you know how powerfully He’s working in and through you and you know as Don said so many times, He’s got this and He does. And so to see that new transformation it must’ve been terrifying to them, but even more terrifying when they’re beginning with the early church, but they must’ve had these memories for a reason and I think storms give us memories.
They give us the hope of God being present, not only there, but the hope that He’s with us everywhere and then we’re able to share that word of encouragement with other people. So we become the words that Jesus uses to speak to others. We’re His temple. We’re the vessels He uses to encourage other people and so there’s beauty even after the storms of life, whatever they are.
DREW: Those are great points as far as the importance of historical recitation. In scripture as we read through the Bible, a lot of the time the authors of the Bible will recount the great works that God has done, whether it’s creation, exodus, journey, entrance into the promise land, and those are some of the things they pass on to future generations. And that is critical for us to do to one another, our families, because we want to be reminded from scripture of what God has done, but also the times in our lives in which He has taken us through storms. So we communicate that with our siblings, our children, our grandchildren that this is how God worked, this is how Jesus worked in our lives. We’re recounting and we’re passing that on and that means a lot to family members, to our children and grandchildren.