One day, earlier in the ministry of Jesus, he had been teaching by the lakeshore. I don’t know how common this was by teachers of the day. I have always thought that they liked to hang out in more religious places. I can certainly see the value of lakeside scenery in demonstrating the nature of God since God created nature.
Mark 4:1 Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. A very large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat in the boat while all the people remained on the shore. 2 He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:
This chapter in the bible contains several really great parables that Jesus used to give the crowd a deeper understanding of God. The truth is that most of that very crowd knew very little about God. Even the very educated and religiously decorated knew far less than they thought they knew. No one at this time really knew more than a drop in the bucket about Jesus.
Yet a large crowd showed up here at the lakeside to hear him speak. They knew that there was something special about this guy. I would imagine that some of them were supposed to be doing something else, yet Jesus and the words he was speaking were more important.
After a while Jesus needed to get away from the crowd.
Mark 4:35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed).
I can only imagine riding in one of these boats. The smell of the old lumber and the creaking of the wooden joints as the waves gently rocked the heavy vessel on the water’s surface must have really been relaxing after a long day of teaching a crowd that seemed to just not be able to get enough. Some of them were following even as Jesus was making his escape.
Yeah, it was relaxing and Jesus was catching himself a nap. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that taking a nap is a bad thing. Sometimes it is better to grab a power nap than it is to eat lunch. But that really has nothing to do with anything.
Well, the gently rocking boat began to do a little more than rock and it became a little less than gentle. In fact, a storm came rolling in. I’ve been on big water in a little boat in a terrible storm. It is what I call “scary”. Waves large enough to keep you from seeing another boat just a few yards away are very humbling. I don’t like it and I don’t blame the disciples for being afraid.
Mark 4:37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. 38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”
They were scared. Who wouldn’t be? And they had no idea who was in their boat. If only they knew, well, then they would have hope. But they thought he was just a great teacher and this wasn’t the Magic School Bus. The boat wasn’t going to morph into a submarine and haul them off to safety. They felt like this was the end. They were all going to drown out here in the lake and head off to the big boat in the sky.
Jesus was managing to sleep through this and they woke him up thinking that he shouldn’t miss out on all this terror and imminent doom. They didn’t call on him for help. It was more like, “Wake up and drown!”
They didn’t know who was with them. A lot of the time, I don’t know who is with me. I have my little ideas and notions but they are about as accurate as calling Jesus a mere teacher. I don’t understand the power and awesomeness of Christ and that he is always living in me. I just don’t get it that my trust can be solely in him at all times because he will not fail me…ever. He is more than I can comprehend. Sometimes, I not only realize that things are out of my control but I feel that they are out of his control.
Mark 4:39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Sometimes I still have no faith. I need to stop and realize that he is greater than the wind and the rain, the lightning and the waves that come crashing against me. I need to realize that he is greater than my logic and intellect. He can do what I cannot fathom and conquer the unconquerable. I need to realize that he is God, and that is something exponentially greater than any power I can imagine.
Who is this God that calms my inner storms, that brings me from ruin to restoration, from disaster to a new life, from dying to eternal life? It is good to ask. If I ask, he will show me and my faith will grow.
Mark 4:41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”