Bible Reading: Mark 4
Mark 4:37-39, “And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
In 1986 two brothers, both fishermen/amateur archeologists, found remains of a buried boat on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. A drought had receded the shoreline and exposed the long-hidden remains. The boat was determined to be of the New Testament era—the same kind of boat that would have been used by Jesus’ fishermen-disciples. Once uncovered, it was examined and determined to be 27 feet long, 7.5 feet wide, and 4.3 feet high. It was of shallow draft and flat bottom that it might be able to get close to shore while fishing. Great for fishing—not so great for surviving a big storm at sea.
Jesus was in such a boat with His disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee. “A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling” (Mark 4:37). Those disciples were experienced sailors. They knew how that sea was prone to such sudden changes. And they knew what to do on such occasions. But this storm was too great. And their boat was about to sink. They feared for their lives.
It was at this point that they cried out to Jesus: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing” (Mark 4:38)? They were anxious. He was sleeping. “How can He sleep in the midst of this gale?” they must have thought. Doesn’t He care that we are about to capsize and sink to the depths?
“Do you not care?” They may not verbalize it, but Christ’s followers are sometimes guilty of such doubts. “Sin and despair like the sea-waves cold threaten the soul with infinite loss.” Too often, our response is to curse the storm and try by any means to escape. The disciples were fortunate to have Jesus in their boat. The believer in Christ has Him too. He merely spoke a word to the wind and the sea and there was “a great calm” (Mark 4:39). Their fear of the storm was exchanged for “a great fear” that caused them to ask amongst themselves: “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” (Mark 4:41).
Does He care? He has proven that He does, having given His life to rescue us from our sins (Romans 8:32; 1 John 3:16). Does He care? He invites us to bring our cares to Him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Does He care? Yes indeed! He may not quiet the adverse winds and waves, but He can impart to our hearts and minds a quiet “which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
Storms happen. They touch on every part of the planet. And the troubles and trials of life affect every soul. God has a purpose in them—to elicit faith in Him. The disciples had no need to fear—having Jesus, “the master of the seas,” in their boat. But they remained anxious ‘til they asked Jesus for help. The believer in Christ is indwelt with the One who calmed the winds and the waves. God’s purpose in our troubles is that we might turn to Him for help. If you have Jesus in your life, you do not need to fear. He knows all about your troubles. He can impart His peace to your heart. He cares!
Amidst the storms of life, when the winds of adversity blow and troubles mount up as angry waves threatening to undo you, keep in mind that you know the One who calmed the winds and the waves. You’ve no need to fear if you’ve got Jesus “in your boat.”
I was sinking deep in sin,
Far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within,
Sinking to rise no more;
But the Master of the sea
Heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me–
Now safe am I.