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Study of Mark: Mark 4:35-41 April 2, 2010

Posted by Warren in The Gospel of Mark.
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On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 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. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”
(Mark 4:35-41 ESV)

After having taught the multitudes in parables, and having explained the parables to His disciples, Christ is ready for a time of rest, so He commands the disciples to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. After He fell asleep, a storm comes up, and the disciples are upset, thinking He doesn’t care about them.

Don’t we tend to do that? Isn’t our first reaction when something goes wrong, or something bad happens, to get mad at God? “God, I’m TRYING to do this for You. Why aren’t you making it EASY FOR ME!!!??? Don’t You want this to get done? What’s up with all these problems? Don’t You love me anymore?” Instead of thinking about what God has in mind for us, we’re quick to get mad, and give up.

Jesus took care of the problem. He calmed the storm and the sea, just to show them that He could. God sometimes lets these things happen to us to show us that it is HIM, and not us, that is in control. He is trying to teach the disciples that they need to rely on Him. So He takes care of the problem, then rebukes their unbelief.

Waitaminuite. Unbelief? They ran to Him to fix things, didn’t they? Yes, but they ran to Him NOT to ask for His help, but to complain that they were in the situation to begin with. Several of the disciples were fishermen — they knew when a storm was possible, because their lives depended on it. They went out into the sea in obedience to Him, trusting that He’d not let something like this happen, and when it did, their faith was tested — and they failed the test. They didn’t believe that He was in control anymore. “Don’t you care that we’re GOING TO DIE??” is what they asked. They knew that they were going to die, and were mad that He put them in that situation. The storm came, and they lost faith.

Happens to us all the time. Sometimes the storm is big, sometimes it doesn’t take much. I can remember a time when I was driving back and forth to seminary, spending a good part of the week in Louisville. Had a hard time finding a place to stay — and I ended up spending a bunch of money that we really didn’t have on hotel rooms. I got mad at God — wondering why He’d led me that far from home, only to abandon me once I got there. Finally, I got on my face in my hotel room and asked Him for guidance, and admitted I had been wrong. Next day, I run into someone in my Theology class who lives not far from home (right across the river, in fact), who told me that there was commuter housing available for $10 a night. I had thought that they didn’t do that anymore at Southern. God had a plan for me — all I had to do was recognize that He was in control. Now I have a place to live. Little storm — but it sure seemed big when I was trying to figure out how we were going to pay for an apartment AND gas AND food AND everything else. This passage reminds me that God has everything under control.

Even after this storm on the sea, the disciples wondered who Jesus was, exactly. “What kind of man is this, that the very forces of nature obey Him?” They were starting to learn, though, that this wasn’t just an ordinary religious leader that they were following.

{slightly edited — I realized after I posted that this was originally written quite a while ago, and needed some revision}

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