Knowing Jesus in the Storm
Quite often we think we know someone based on what we’ve seen on the surface or how others have defined them. Yet, there is often more to them than meets the eye.
Jesus had called his disciples to follow him in ministry. There was something about him that made them come. Each one had cast aside their daily activities to join him—eager to learn from him, to see, hear, and touch those things that were outside the realm of ordinary.
Jesus’ messages were radical, but yet compassionate and the people hung on to every word. Today, he had preached from a boat because the crowd was so large. It had been a long, tiring day, and at its close, Jesus instructed the disciples to “cross to the east side” (Mark 4:35-41, CEV).
Being tired, and knowing his disciples were adept at fishing and sailing, Jesus went to sleep in the back of the boat. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a fierce storm arose.
Isn’t that how it is with our own lives? We will be sailing along smoothly being a good Christian and then, without warning, we are buffeted by life and its inevitable storms. Yet, sometimes it is these very storms that make us recognize who Jesus really is and that he is always with us.
The wind and waves were crashing all around, collaborating to make the boat these men were guiding, a sailor’s coffin. The disciples were terrified. Soon that turbulent water was no longer outside, it found its way inside the boat, filling the empty spaces and threatening their very lives. What was even scarier was that the storm had also barged its way inside them, drowning their faith.
Would he hear them over the chaos? Yes, he would. You and I know that God hears us each and every time we call.
How could he sleep at a time like this? So they woke him.
“Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to drown?” (v.38). It was the almost-last-words of desperate fishermen who were about to die.
Sometimes in our own desperation we wonder if Jesus hears us, if he sees our storms. And will he put an end to them...quickly.
What were the disciples expecting? They had seen Jesus up close and personal. At those times, he was preaching and teaching crowds (sometimes giving these disciples private tutorials, as he explained the meanings of his parables). Jesus was also healing---miraculously healing people. But these disciples didn’t need a healing. They needed to be rescued. We do, too. We need to be rescued from the storms of life. Rescued from sin--from addictions, from mounting debt, from our own crippling self-righteousness.
Perhaps, in the moment, they did not really know what they expected of Jesus. After all, they had only witnessed Jesus helping other people by healing them physically. Could he rescue them from imminent danger? From natural disaster?
The psalmist David gives us the answer and reminds us of God’s power:
You were in serious trouble,
but you prayed to the Lord,
and he rescued you.
He made the storm stop
and the sea be quiet.
You were happy because of this,
and he brought you to the port
where you wanted to go.
You should praise the Lord
for his love
and for the wonderful things
he does for all of us.
(Psalm 107:28-31, CEV).
Perhaps they had heard that psalm before, or perhaps not. Or perhaps they had recited Psalm 46 when they gathered for weekly temple meetings.
God is our mighty fortress,
always ready to help
in times of trouble.
And so, we won't be afraid!
… Let the ocean roar and foam,
and its raging waves
shake the mountains….
(Psalm 46:1-3, CEV)
“We won’t be afraid…Let the ocean roar” …. We say it, too. But do we really mean it or believe it? The ocean was certainly roaring now. But the disciples had thrown their faith overboard at its angry sound; they had forgotten that Jesus was in the boat with them. He was all they needed. And, for us, too, Jesus is all we will ever need.
The Scriptures tell us that Jesus awoke and “ordered the wind and waves to be quiet” (Mark 4:39, CEV) and immediately there was complete calm. Consider this: Jesus was in complete control. He’s our God who can fix chaos. He’s our God who has preeminence over creation because he made it, and it is subject to his commands.
The apostle John tells us, “Everything that was created received its life from him…” (John 1:4, CEV). We know this because:
And while Jesus does not tell the men to be quiet, one can guess, that as he asked, “Why were you afraid? Don't you have any faith?” (v. 40) they fell silent. We are told that they were even more afraid at his questioning.
They began asking each other:
“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (v. 41).
Instinctively they knew who he was. It wasn’t so much a question. It was more a “Did we just see what we just saw?” moment. They now knew Jesus was more than a healer. He was the Messiah. The Son of God. The Savior and Redeemer. He was man, but very God. He was Creator. He was God.
PRAYER: Jesus, we cry out to you knowing you hear, and answer our petitions. We are not immune from the storms of life, but we know we can count on you to get us through them. Amen.