Markby Robert M. Solomon
The Sea of Galilee was a lake surrounded by hills. Sudden storms were not uncommon. Jesus and His disciples were crossing by boat in the evening when a ″furious squall″ (v. 37) suddenly sprung up and created big, threatening waves, all the more terrifying in the darkness. The boat was ″nearly swamped″. This was a storm so big, even the seasoned fishermen were afraid.
Jesus was on the boat too, but tired from a busy day of preaching, He was sleeping at the back, oblivious to the disciples' desperate attempts to keep the boat afloat. They woke Him up and, with a hint of reproach, asked, ″Teacher, don't you care if we drown″ (v. 38). What a question! When we are afraid or angry, we are all too ready to blame others.
Jesus got up and taught them a lesson about His amazing power. He rebuked the wind and commands the waves to be still, and they obeyed (v. 39). The disciples were stunned to see such tremendous power and authority. Besides showing that even nature obeyed Him, Jesus also gave His disciples an impromptu lesson concerning His presence. If He was present, then no matter how terrible the storm, the disciples should have trusted that they would be safe. But instead they fearfully appealed to Jesus to do something about the storm. To them, His presence alone was not enough, but between His presence and power, the more desirable was the former, for it included the latter as well. The frightened disciples needed to learn this lesson and put their confidence in Jesus.
There was a deeper lesson still. If the disciples recalled that Jesus had earlier declared, ″Let us go over to the other side″ (v. 35), they would have understood that His purpose was unchanging and inevitable-if He intended to reach his destination, they would arrive safely. The same applied to His promises: if He said so, it would happen.
Later the disciples saw Jesus arrested and tortured. His power seemed to be absent as He suffered cruel crucifixion. His presence was also absent the following day. But if they had remembered this lesson from the perfect storm, they would have been comforted by His purpose and promise: that He would rise from the dead (Mark 10:33-34), just as He said. What a precious lesson!
What has been your understanding and experience of the power, presence, and purposes of Christ? In which of these do you need to grow, especially when you are going through difficult times?
Jesus asked the disciples, ″Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?″ (v. 40). Has He ever spoken to you this way? What is the faith He is talking about? Faith in what or whom?