Mark: According To
Faith Through the Wind and Waves
“Let us cross to the other side,” so they left the multitude and they took Him along in the boat, and others followed as well.”
The parables and teaching were over, Jesus was tired and being directed by the Holy Spirit, he asked his disciples to push off from the shore and sail across the lake.
The sea of Galilee has two mountain ranges that are along the eastern and western shore. To the north are low lying hills and often as the fishermen were fishing by night the wind would begin to blow from the north. The wind channeled between the two mountain ranges and with nothing to block it from the north would race across the lake creating great waves. Many a small fishing boat lined the bottom of Galilee when they failed to make it safely back to shore.
Whether this storm was created to test the faith of the disciples or was an attempt by Satan to sink the boat and kill Jesus, we are not told.
Jesus had been preaching and teaching upon the western shore, and desired to travel to the eastern short of Gennesaret. This was not an uninhabited land for there were towns, but it contained far less population and was more heathen than Jewish Galilee. And Gennesaret had little communication with Galilee thus it offered Jesus the seclusion He sought.
Being tired he went to the back of the boat and promptly fell asleep.
Many of the disciples of Jesus were fishermen by trade who had spent many a night in such stormy conditions, yet each time they were able to bring the boat safely to shore. But upon this night, as hard as they tried, their strength was useless against such strong wind and waves.
Those that had followed Jesus in the other fishing boats were soon struggling for their life as well. Yet through it all, Jesus slept peacefully in the stern of the boat while wave after wave crashed over the side of the boat until the boat was in danger of sinking.
I have often thought of this event and wondered what it might have been like. I have looked at this through the experienced eye of disciples, who were used to such conditions and have contemplated what must have run through Jesus mind as he fell asleep, soundly in the stern of the boat.
As the waves crashed over the side of the boat, the boat was soon filling with water until it would seem Jesus himself was soon to drown in water as he lay peacefully sleeping.
The disciples absorbed in their own ability to save themselves had forgotten that Jesus lay fast asleep. They worked harder and harder yet for all their efforts, the battle appeared to be at a loss, because their boat was sinking deeper and deeper into the sea.
Suddenly they realized that their only hope lay in Jesus.
38 But he was in the stern, asleep on a pillow, And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
All around us the tempus is often raging. There are problems with our own families, problems with our friends, strife in the church and the world is in turmoil and we look around and say, “God, do you not care that we are perishing?”
Yet we try and try and try again to take control of our own lives and place our hope in our own desires and ambition to fix that which is wrong within our own lives and everything else about us until we are worn and frazzled, once again crying out, “God do you not care that I am drowning in this sea of strife.”
It feels that God is indeed asleep.
Yet when the storm about us rages at its worse, Christ is ever there to help. When the disciples finally realized they were helpless to save themselves, they cried out to Jesus for help. They surrendered control of their situation to Jesus. And when they finally surrendered their will to Jesus, 39 Then He (Jesus) arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
My friends, with all the evidence that has been presented before us in the first four chapters of Mark, how can we possibly doubt who Jesus is. We have seen the miracles he performed. We have heard the words he has spoken, and understand the meanings of the parables that he gave. He has taught us what is acceptable to do when in service to our God. Lives have been changed and even enemies have been made, but through it all Jesus is God in the flesh who came to serve and save the lost.
As it was impossible for those to see His miracles and hear his teaching and not be changed, it should be equally impossible for us to read these words and see the changed lives of those who surrender their lives to God and not ourselves become changed.
Without Christ, life has no meaning and we are in danger of drowning in a sea of heartache and despair. The things of this world threaten to drown us and hope for something better is without our grasp. No matter our effort we will never get where we are going until we surrender our lives and asked Jesus for help.
For us today, Jesus asks, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” The evidence is in front of us, and to each a measure of faith is given. It is up to us to exercise that faith and grasp unto Jesus and never let go, then no matter how the sea of life rages before us, we will sail safely to where we are going with Jesus as our guide.
Then all those around will say, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
God always stands ready to answer the call of any soul that is drowning in the sea of life. At his disposal are angels, the Holy Spirit and even his faithful followers here on earth. It will be the changed lives of all Christ’s faithful that will cause others to say, “Who can this be that even the winds of strife and the tumultuous sea of life will listen and cause such change in these people.” They marvel, and then will see the light and be drawn to God the Father by the change that happens in the lives of all who follow Jesus and surrender all, allowing God to control their course through life.
When Jesus was awakened to meet the storm, He was perfectly at peace. There was no trace of fear in work or look, for no fear was in His heart. But he rested not in the possession of almighty power. It was not as the “master of earth and sea and sky” that He reposed in quiet. That power He had laid down, and He says, “I can of Mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30). He trusted in the Father’s might. It was in Faith, – faith in God’s love and care, – that Jesus rested, and the power of the word which stilled the storm was the power of God the Father, not of Jesus himself.
As Jesus rested by faith in the Father’s care, so we are to rest in the care of our Saviour. If the disciples had trusted in Him, they would have been kept in peace. Their fear in the time of danger revealed their unbelief, in their efforts to save themselves, they forgot Jesus; and it was only when, in despair of self-dependence, they turned to Him that he could give them help
It is when we surrender ourselves, not just a part but all of ourselves to the will of God that we will then get to where we are going, and that is to the other side.