Mark 4:40 (see also Matt. 8:26 which I missed going through Matthew) – He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” NIV
Jesus and His disciples had been ministering all day at the edge of the Sea of Galilee. As evening came, Jesus suggested that they get into the boat and go to the other side. The disciples got into the boat with Jesus, and He went to the stern and fell asleep on a cushion. In route to the other side a severe squall comes up and these fishermen turned followers of Jesus realize that they are in danger and Jesus is still sleeping. They wake Him with these words: “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38 – NIV)
Mark records what happened next: “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” (Mark 4:39 – NIV)
It is after performing this miracle that He asked the disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” It is amazing how looking at other factors of our environment or hearing discouraging words from a friend can affect our faith. Most of these guys were experienced fishermen who knew the dangers of being caught in a severe storm on Galilee. They undoubtedly had friends or acquaintances who had drowned in these waters under these conditions. They felt that they had no power over the weather and were always at the mercy of it. They were scared!
At least they knew to whom to turn for help. They woke up Jesus, and He saved them and the rest of the boats that were near them. It is interesting that He questions their fear and faith development. It’s as if He was hoping that they would be more spiritually mature by this time. Mark says that the power that Jesus displayed, also, scared or awed them. What they say next to each other is a revelation: “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41 – NIV)
Their eyes were being opened to the fact that Jesus was more than just another rabbi or prophet. He possessed powerful abilities that were only attributed to God. It was a startling revelation, and they were awed by Him. They would see even more wonderful things in the days ahead as their faith replaced their fear, and yet fear would surface again and again. Sometimes they faced it with faith and sometimes with fear until after the resurrection and their empowerment by the Holy Spirit.
How do I respond in fear to situations in my life? What things tend to aid in my becoming fearful? What tends to boost my faith? When I am not in control can I trust God to be in control? Do I call out to Jesus when I am fearful? Do I ask Him to help my unbelief?
Some verses that remind me of who is ultimately in control are:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 – NIV)
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4 – NIV)