The Wind and Sea Obey Him

Storm on the Sea of Galilee

Rembrandt’s “Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee” (Public Domain)

Reading the Word

Mark 4:35–41 (ESV)

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 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?” 39 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. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Parallel Texts: Matthew 8:18-19, 23-27; Luke 8:22-25

Understanding and Applying the Word

The account of Jesus calming the storm is a well-known one. We often sit in judgment of how the disciples could have acted the way they did. Why were they so afraid? We forget that among the twelve were experienced fishermen. They would have been familiar with storms on the water and dealing with such things. The fact that they were afraid tells us something: this storm was severe! The disciples truly feared for their lives when they woke Jesus and said, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

Jesus arose from sleeping and commanded the wind and the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And they obeyed him! When the disciples witnessed this amazing act of Jesus, they were in awe. This is why the text reads that they were filled with great fear. They were in the presence of a power that they could not comprehend! They wondered, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Of course, the answer to the disciples question is that Jesus was God in the flesh. He was in complete control of all things. The Creator made a command to his creation and it obeyed. Jesus asked his disciples why they were so afraid. “Have you still no faith?” They had heard Jesus teach and witnessed many of his miracles, but they were still putting the pieces together about who Jesus was.

What about us? When we face difficulties in our lives, do we face them with strength and confidence knowing that our Lord is in complete control? Or, are we more like the disciples in the boat who were afraid for their lives and scrambling to save themselves. If that is our response to our circumstances, it is because we have forgotten that Jesus is the one who speaks and even the wind and the sea obey him. Lord, help us to trust you!

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