On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 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?” 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. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 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?” Mark 4:35-41 ESV
Who Is This Guy?
Have you ever spent any amount of time with someone and thought that you have them figured out? You know their background, their traditions, and their core beliefs and have gotten to know their personality quite a bit. You grow comfortable with the person you think you know. They fit into your world, or at least you haven’t had to stretch your world very much in order for this person to fit in. And he or she may have had to stretch their world for you to fit in as well. You’ve become deep friends. More than acquaintances. Almost family. Then they do something so unimaginable that you find you didn’t stretch your world nearly enough.
That’s what happened to twelve guys in a boat on a stormy night. It was one of those “Oh Crap!” moments when you’re pretty sure you’re done. Water’s coming in the boat. Everybody that can is bailing it out as fast as they can. This boat was not built for this! And there’s this guy, our leader, who is sleeping while we’re freaking out. (This makes me wonder why a bunch of fishermen, who should be accustomed to this sort of situation, are panicking and looking to a carpenter’s son for answers to the problem.)
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
So these twelve knuckleheads are convinced that they are going to die. Again, didn’t the fishermen in the group assure them that they had things under control and they weren’t going to die? Probably the rest of the twelve were panicking so badly that it didn’t matter. Then in that situation, thirteen guys in a boat that could likely capsize, some of them experienced sailors, and one guy sleeping in the bow, what do you do? Of course, if you wake up the sleeping guy, he’ll have the answers. So they wake up Jesus and say, Dude, we’re about to die, what the heck?!? I kind of get a picture in my head of a little kid trying to wake up his sleeping dad, “Dad, dad, dad, daddy, dad, papa, dad!” Then the dad wakes up and patiently asks what he wants just to find out the boy needs to go to the bathroom.
“Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” What does that question mean? Faith in what? Does faith automatically mean not to fear? I think the question of faith here is referring to what Jesus said in the first part of this biblical passage. “Let us go across to the other side.” I think the twelve may have forgotten that Jesus said that, and that was their destination. Not the bottom of the lake. Jesus was saying that He had pronounced that they would get to the other side of the lake and that the twelve had lost faith that they would arrive where their Lord had commanded they would go.
He Didn’t Promise A Rose Garden
When Jesus said, “Let us go across to the other side,” He didn’t say let’s take a luxury cruise on this yacht to the other side of the lake and we’ll have nothing but sunshine and cool breezes the whole way, and maybe get a massage on the way. No, He knew there was going to be a storm. He knew the boat was probably a little small to hold thirteen guys. And He also knew that they would arrive on the other side.
Jesus doesn’t call us to be successful for our own comfort’s sake. He doesn’t always call us to the mission field with the promise of coming home alive. He calls us to a purpose for His sake and His glory. There may be a danger, hunger, doubt, and questioning if the purpose you’ve been set on is even possible. You know what, that’s not your problem. He will work out the possible, He will get you through the danger and meet your needs in times of hunger. Stay faithful to the Lord’s calling on your life and He will see you through. He will literally calm the storm and command the waves and the wind.