2002-06-05 - Boating with Jesus
Mark 4:38,39 And He Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Hush, be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.
We have before us part of the story of Jesus calming the storm, and I would like to observe a few things about this in hopes to encourage you today. I have a mental picture of this scene where the disciples are in the midst of the storm, fighting to maintain control of the boat, and I picture them looking over at a slumbering Christ and saying to one another, "How can He sleep through this?" Finally, in desperation, when they thought all could soon be lost, they woke Christ and said to Him, "Don't You care that we are about to perish?" Christ stills the storm and there are probably several things we can apply from this story.
First, it appears that the disciples reached a conclusion that Christ did not care about their problem. They were struggling and struggling with the storm that threatened them, and He not help out. Rather, He slept. For us, there are, have been, or will be times when we will be going through our own storms, and from all appearances, Christ seems to be sleeping through our plight. This story should give us comfort. Christ cares for His own, and this story should be an aid to our trust in that fact. Another thing that the disciples should have taken into account, and we should also, is how Christ has been merciful in the past. We don't merit His mercy, and yet we experience it.
It might seem, in this passage, that Christ didn't care. Clearly His response shows that He did. After they woke Him, He could have simply gotten out of the boat, walked through the storm and left them to themselves. But He didn't, He calmed the storm. This brings up another reason why Christ may have slept through the storm as long as He did. This was a clear manifestation of His power to thedisciples. It wasn't done in front of the multitudes, but rather in front of His close few. It was a clear example of His deity. Even the winds and waves obey Him.
Clearly, this passage tells us that even if the apparent response to our struggles is indifference, Christ cares for us. In another water incident, when Christ walked on the water in Matthew 14:22-27, He greets the disciples with, "Take courage. It is I; do not be afraid." In an earthly manner, Caesar, when speaking to one of his captains who was afraid, said to him, "Fear not, thou carriest Caesar and all his fortunes." Likewise, we have no need to fear because, in Christ, we carry His care, yes, but also all His benefits and blessings. Even if it appears that Christ is sleeping amidst our struggles, we can know that He is not indifferent to our struggles. He knows them well, and He cares for us.
It is true that sometimes it appears that Christ is sleeping. But in the middle of our struggles, we can know certainly that Christ will never be late. He will never oversleep. Sometimes, it seems like all is going wrong around us. We push all our panic buttons, we do all we can do, and then comes the message, "Cheer up. It is going to get worse." It is here that we must remember the wisdom of Scripture, "For when I am weak, then I am strong," 2 Corinthians 12:10. It is very true that when we depend on fallen man, we live in the world of "Maybe," and we lack hope. But when we put our trust in God we have a sure foundation for our hope. The Lord is our sure hope, and when the storms of life seem to be assaulting us, we must remember His words, "Hush, be still," and keep steadfast in our trust in Him.
Soli Deo Gloria,