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May 16, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“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 (NIV)
Often, when encountering passages dealing with storms, most messages end up becoming how we can overcome the storms of life. Today, our focus won’t be on how we can overcome storms, but instead on the Lord of the storm.
In today’s passage, we see the disciples crossing the lake by boat toward the Gerasenes. While Jesus was taking a nap, a storm hit. According to Aristotle, lailaps (the Greek word meaning a furious squall) describes “a storm breaking forth from black thunder clouds in furious gusts, with floods of rain, and throwing everything topsy-turvy.” This is what hit them.
So, in a panic, the disciples wake Jesus and ask Him if He cares if they drown. One Bible commentator addressed this moment saying, “Unbelief and fear made them sadly forget their place.” Isn’t that such a familiar place for us? The place where fear and faithlessness cause us to forget who Jesus is?
So, Jesus arises, rebukes and calms the storm, and says, “Quiet! Be still!” Other translations say, “Peace.” Now, I know that in this verse, it says Jesus only rebuked the storm and spoke peace and stillness over it, but as I read this account, I can’t help but see a duality in His words. I see His command here being directed at both the storm and the disciples! He was awoken by panic, fear, and faithlessness, so He spoke stillness and peace over the storm raging in the sky and the storm raging in their hearts and minds. This is further cemented when He says, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
After all they’d seen and heard from Jesus, they were still unsure of who Jesus was, which is made clear as they pondered amongst themselves, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” They would soon know precisely who He was.
Is this you today—caught in a constant barrage of storms, unsure of who Jesus is, struggling to have faith? I pray you would see that He is the God of all creation, who holds all things together. He is the King of the universe, the Savior of the world, the mighty One of God who loves us infinitely, whose plans and purposes are perfect, who has never failed us, who is forever faithful, and who works all things for the good of those who love Him.
I pray you realize that as great as any storm may be, Jesus is greater. I pray you will ask God for increased faith. And I pray you’ll learn to depend on Him and seek His presence in every storm and sunny day and be still, know that He is God, and experience His peace.
PAUSE: Why did Jesus question the faith of the disciples in this moment?
PRACTICE: Write down Jesus’ words to the storm on a flashcard.
Write “Peace. Quiet. Be still!”—Jesus
Place the flashcard somewhere visible; somewhere you’ll see it frequently. And each time you see it, allow yourself to remember who He truly is.
PRAY: Father, thank You that YOU are the Lord over every storm, both on the earth and in my life. Thank You that no matter what is going on in or around me, You are in control, You are orchestrating all things for Your glory and my good, and You have the very best prepared for me. I ask that You would increase my faith in every season to depend on You, seek Your face, look to You, and rest and experience peace in You. Amen.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.