The calming of the storm was an object lesson for Jesus’ disciples, for it showed them the lack of faith they had in their hearts. To these fishermen, who must have experienced numerous storms on Galilee, the miracle proved that Jesus was truly the Son of God, the Messiah, for surely only the Creator could have such power over nature, “And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:41).
The stormy sea
“And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full” (Mark 4:35-37).
Here we find the disciples obediently following the Lord, but this did not exempt them from the storm that was coming that evening. They would soon be in trouble, tossed about by the tempest and in danger of being drowned. But Jesus said that they were going to the other side.
Our journey to the other side is not always going to be smooth sailing either. We will experience, and have to endure, hardships, illness, sorrow and disappointment like everyone else. The Lord promised us forgiveness of sin and His grace as we travel towards Heaven, but never once did He suggest that we would be free from troubles. He knew that affliction teaches lessons which we would never learn if we could get to Heaven on a bed of ease. During such times our weaknesses are clearly seen, and they are meant to draw us to God for strength. It puts a desire in our hearts for the glories of God’s Kingdom rather than for the pleasures of this world. One day we will say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes” (Psalm 119:71). We will thank God for every storm we faced, for they increased our faith and trust in Him.
The sleeping Saviour
“And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38).
Jesus, though He was truly God, was truly man with a body of flesh just like ours. He could hunger, get tired, feel pain and sorrow. He had ministered to multitudes of people and had become physically weary. Since He lived as a man on this earth, He knows the trials and infirmities that we face every day, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). This is why we know that He will not reject us when we call upon Him in our time of need, “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).
The spectacular silence
“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39).
His sleeping in the ship reveals His humanity, but the calming of the storm speaks of Jesus’ almighty power as God. No mere man can speak to a storm and bring about a “great calm”. No wonder the disciples exclaimed, “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:41). He could control nature because it was the first voice it heard when He created the universe. The whole of creation knows the sound of His voice. “The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea” (Psalm 93:4).
There is nothing impossible for the Lord (Luke 1:37). None of the storms that invade our lives are beyond His power to tame. We never need to despair or give up hope, instead we can trust that God will carry us through every dilemma. Even when we suffer a stormy period with relatives and friends, the Lord can still speak peace into the situation. As long as Christ is in the same boat we are not going down but going over. Greater is He that is with us than that which is against us, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
The serious statement
“And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).
Why did these experienced fishermen become fearful in the storm? The fact is, they lost faith in what Jesus had clearly promised. He said, “Let us pass over unto the other side” (Mark 4:35), that means that not one of them was going to be washed away by the storm. Also they had taken their eyes off Jesus as soon as the difficulty arose. They thought that the storm had more power that the Lord. They were “so fearful” because they had “no faith”. They had forgotten all the marvellous things that Jesus had done in recent days. They thought that their present predicament indicated that the Lord did not care for them.
Jesus gave His disciples a sharp rebuke. This was not to make them feel bad and so give up following Him, instead it was to motivate them to trust Him more. The Lord loves His own more that we can ever imagine, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him” (Psalm 103:13). Though He has to punish us for disobedience, it is never according to what we deserve, “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10). His love is everlasting, “Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (John 13:1).
The One who calmed the storm has never changed. He is still almighty, still patient, and still desires that we come closer to Him. We do not have to lose faith because of the storms that often come our way, nor do we have to give up because we are not as perfect as we will be in Heaven. Our duty is to live a life that is true and faithful to the One who came to save our souls and take us over to the other side.