Steve Schappell-My Blog

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Calming the storm

How many times have you read something, and then read it you are reading it for the first time?  That recently happened to me.
The story is in Mark 4: 35-41, 5:1 and is about how Jesus calms the storm.  Here is the passage:

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 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?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
 5 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.

Many of you have read this before.  Looking at this in context, Jesus and his disciples were by the lake, where a large multitude of people had arrived to hear him speak.  There were so many people that Jesus got into a boat with his disciples and faced the crowd.  They faced the sea and listened to Jesus as he taught them several Parables.  This went on all day until evening.

I can imagine after a long day, Jesus would have been tired.  While the crowds were still there, he made the decision to leave them behind and go to the other side with his disciples.   I don't know what the weather was when they left, and since they did not have an Accu-Weather app showing the area Radar, they did not know that a fierce storm was on the way.

Again, I don't know the size of the boat, but it was large enough to hold 12 Disciples and Jesus, who was in the back of the boat, sleeping on a cushion.  Now I don't know about you, but I am a fairly light sleeper, and can be woken up by Thunder or loud noise nearby.  In fact, I need a dark room and quiet to sleep.  Not Jesus.  Here in the middle of a storm, with thunder and lightning, high winds, and pounding surf, Jesus was asleep.  With water coming into the boat, Jesus slept. 

The disciples, maybe fearing for their lives, woke Jesus up.   Some were thinking of themselves, while others chided Jesus saying "Don't you care if we drown?"

I don't know what Jesus was thinking at that moment.  You wake me up from a nap, or a deep sleep, and I am not happy.  Jesus simply got up, told the wind and the waves to be still and quiet, and just like that, there was silence. 

Now, you and I understand the context and what happened after that.  How would we have reacted.  Would be be astonished and said. "It's a miracle."  Would we have not believed our eyes.  See, we can look at the New Testament and the Gospels and it seems obvious that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah, the Chosen One.  We have the luxury of hindsight.  The disciples did not.  According to the Jewish beliefs, the Messiah they wanted was a warrior.  Someone to come and overthrow the ruling authorities of the day.  In this example, they witnesses an awesome display of power and authority.

Jesus asked why they were so afraid.  Here comes my first revelation.  Jesus was not afraid of the storm.  He was so calm, he slept.  He did not fear because he had power over the storm.  If Jesus was not afraid of the storm, neither should we.  This goes for all kinds of storms in our lives.

The disciples, still terrified from the storm, and probably terrified of what they witnessed Jesus do, asked each other who this person was, that even the winds and waves obey him.  Again, we can look at this now, and say "What, are they crazy?  This is Jesus, the Messiah.  The one who would change the world."  But I bet, if were were in their place, we would have asked the same thing. 

Remember, the disciples were seasoned fishermen.  Surely they faced storms like this before on the lake or sea.  Were they afraid then.  Jesus asked them to go to the other side, and they were following his order, if you will.

Here was my next revelation.  It is Chapter 5, verse 1.  It ends the story, but is easy to miss.  They went across the lake.  The storm did not deter them.  They still completed the task.  It made me realize that even when we do as the Lord says, there still may be storms in our lives.  It is unavoidable.  Yet, because Jesus was with them, the storm did not stop them from getting to the other side, which is where Jesus wanted them to go.

I believe we often let a storm stop us from getting to our destination, whatever that is.  So even if the storm you are going through is a result of an accident, divorce, job loss, or some other trial, we can remain confident.  Jesus will guide us though the storm, and get us to the other side.   He remained calm, and so can we.  Regardless of the outcome, we can trust Jesus with any storm we encounter.

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