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. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
— Mark 4:35–40
Jesus was so fatigued from teaching and interacting with people that he put his disciples in a boat to sail across the Sea of Galilee. People in other boats joined the journey. He then found a spot in the back of the boat to nap. Vicious winds arose and the boat began to fill with water. So much so, that even the experienced fishermen on board panicked. With an accusatory tone and fearing for their lives, they awakened Jesus and pled for help.
Lest we be too quick to judge the lack of faith of the disciples in this story, we should consider ourselves. Let’s be real. Too many times we allow our circumstances to dictate how we feel. And how we feel has a direct impact on how we act. The disciples’ circumstances filled them with fear, and it affected their faith. But, to their credit, their feelings of fear did not prevent them from alerting the One who could save them.
We should not forget about the other boats that were on the sea close to them. I imagine those passengers were just as afraid as the disciples. But when Jesus calmed the wind and waves in response to the disciples’ pleading, he saved everyone in all the boats, not just the people in his boat. Likewise, when a storm is raging in our lives, it often entangles those around us. But when Jesus quiets our storm, those around us may also gain relief.
What storm is rocking your world right now — sickness, finances, family strife, doubt, depression, employment, lack of joy, infidelity, loneliness? Or maybe you just feel lost in life.
Jesus did not tell the disciples to go away, or to come back later, or to handle it themselves. He acted as their protector, and then their teacher. He immediately calmed the situation, and then taught a life lesson. And it should not be discounted that he was in the boat with them!
This story is about salvation by a Savior — a caring, powerful Savior. First, he rebuked the wind and made the sea “completely calm,” and then he questioned his disciples about their faith. Did you get that? Having been awakened from a nap in the middle of the storm, Jesus displayed ultimate power over the circumstances, as well as much-needed grace to his followers.
Can you remember a time when Jesus has done the same for you? If not in the past, could today be the day? Despite your circumstances or the way you feel, God understands and wants to provide grace and power to save and protect you, even in the midst of difficult times.
“…therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.”
— Hebrew 2:17–18