Why Are You So Afraid?
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:35-41)
Exhausted and in need of respite from preaching, teaching, and healing the Lord Jesus gathers His disciples into a boat with the command to head for the other side. Weary and exhausted from the day’s duties, Jesus sits in the stern and promptly falls asleep. Here Jesus demonstrates that it is not wrong to consider the frailty of our bodies when we are about God’s work! Our bodies are jars of clay, not machines. Jesus often withdrew with His disciples to solitary places for times of refreshment and restoration. Later in Mark we read:
-Charles H. Spurgeon
The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:30-31)
We are told a furious squall descended upon them–filling the boat with water until it nearly swamped. All the while the Lord slept soundly in the stern. Drained of hope, the disciples turn to Jesus, the God of all hope. Believing the Master to be unconcerned about their circumstances, the storm is testing the disciple’s reliance on Jesus. I’ve been there: Wondering if Jesus is unaware of my circumstances, singing a line from the old spiritual, “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen”, and forgetting to go on to the next line, “Nobody knows but Jesus.” Why is it that when the fire gets hot we think Jesus is on vacation? That we begin to think He is not interested in our pain, interested in our sorrow, not able to help us through our difficult circumstance? Nothing could be further from the truth!
The disciples should have known that a ship with the Lord Jesus in it may be tossed, but it will never sink. We may perhaps be at our own wits end, but we are never at faith’s end while we have a Savior to go to. Sometimes a greater lesson is learned in the midst of our storms, before the waves are quelled. We can be sure God always has our best interest at heart. He will never leave us or forsake us. Nothing can change our unchangeable God. We must rest in His words:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
The words of the Old Testament remind us:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:1-3)
Christ rebukes the wind and the waves and they immediately subside at His command, leaving tranquility in their wake. There is always complete calm with the Lord Jesus. He is never out of control. He is never unable. We discover in Psalm 107 words describing our Lord’s actions:
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. (Psalm 107:28-29)
Take It to Heart
Near the end of our verses for today we find Jesus asking the disciples about their fear and their faith. Our great fear will cause our faith to flee. Our great fear will force us to take our eyes off the God of all creation–the all-powerful, the all-knowing, the everywhere-present God. And we will put our eyes on ourselves. The result? Sheer terror.
Faith conquers fear! In the calm after the storm the disciples sat wide eyed–full of reverence and respect over what had transpired. They were beginning to realize that Jesus was no ordinary man!
When Christ is in our company we have all that we need.