Updated: Mar 25, 2020
The sun was beginning to set after a long day of work. Jesus had healed Peter’s mother-in-law of fever. He cast many demons out of possessed people, and He healed all of the sick that were brought to Him. Crowds followed them everywhere and brought many broken and ill to Him for healing. Jesus had called the people to a deeper, more difficult understanding of what following Him meant. And now, He and His disciples were seeking a moment of solitude before another long day of work. Jesus and His closest friends got into a very small boat and started across the Sea of Galilee.
They were able to take in the smells of the breeze, fresh water, and the quietness of the waves gently smacking the sides of their tiny boat. Jesus was tired, so He retired to the back of the boat, rested His head on a cushion, and fell into a deep sleep. Some of the disciples were probably resting their eyes, while others were perhaps discussing the many events and miracles of the day.
The fishermen noticed it first. The sky turned from clear to black. The gentle breeze changed and stirred the waters without warning. The light slapping of waves on the side of the boat began to rock it sideways and front to back. It happened so quickly. The violent eastern winds were coming off the hills of the Golan Heights. They knew without a doubt that trapped in the basin, the winds were deadly to even the most experienced fishermen. The front of their boat rose so high all they could see was the black evening sky covered in thick ominous clouds. Between the crashing waves over the sides and the cold, torrential rain their small boat was rapidly taking on water. They would surely drown.
Suddenly, they wondered where Jesus was. He was still sleeping! They knew He must be tired, but how could He be so tired he couldn't hear the sound of the wind ripping through the sails and the thundering waves tearing the boat apart? They woke Him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” He did not awake in a panic or even a hurry. He opened His eyes and let them fall on each terrified disciple one by one. He searched for a sliver of faith. He found none, only fear and hopelessness.
Jesus turned His attention to the storm and said, “Silence! Be still!” Immediately, the wind stopped blowing, and there was a “great calm.” Jesus turned back to His disciples who couldn’t believe what they had seen. He asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Can you imagine what it must have been like in the boat with Christ that day? Mark 4:41 says that the disciples were terrified because even the wind and the waves obeyed Him. They had been with Jesus, seen His miracles, listened to His teaching, willingly followed Him, and watched the supernatural in His presence. They saw what He did, but they hadn’t allowed it to sink into their hearts. Sure, Jesus could heal the sick, but control the wind and the waves? They couldn't wrap their minds around a man who could speak to nature and it must obey Him.
What I find interesting is that although they were afraid, they still relied on Jesus. We don’t see them trying to row the boat out of the storm or change the sails. The only thing they did is wake Jesus. Even though they accused him of not caring about whether they would die, they still chose to go to him first. Their faith was weak but their prayers were strong. They feared death, but they still went to their Master for help.
Their faith was weak, but their prayers were strong.
After the wind and waves obeyed Jesus, the disciples were terrified of Christ instead of their circumstances. They stood in awe at a man who had supreme authority. Their fear was now focused on Jesus. They weren’t able to focus on the storm, because Jesus had demonstrated that He could calm even the most powerful of forces.
We may fear our circumstances and worry about our surroundings, but when we allow the knowledge of the Lord permeate our earthly minds and hearts, our fear will quickly be directed toward God. When we fear God, we cannot fear our circumstances, because God has complete control over every one of them.
Proverbs 9:10 says, “Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” Proverbs 111:10, Proverbs 19:23.
"Without the fear of the Lord, we would not understand the power we have in the Holy Spirit." - Francis Chan, Basic Series, Fear God
They did not have the internal peace they would have had if they had the faith they should have had. When we fear the Lord and put our trust in Him, we can have peace knowing He is fighting our battles for us.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7