Mark 4:35-41 – The Disciples’ First Test (pt. 5)

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Mark 4:35-41 –

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?

V. An Appropriate Rebuke (v. 40)

In verse 40, after rebuking the storm, Jesus then rebuked the disciples.  After the way that the disciples questioned Him this was certainly an appropriate rebuke.  But it was also a gentle rebuke.  Jesus did not even bring up the ridiculous question that they asked of Him.  He doesn’t yell at them, or demoralize them.  He simply asks them two very direct questions.  First, Jesus asked them, “Why are you so afraid?”  Sure there was a huge storm, and the boat was about to sink.  But in light of Jesus’ power was there really any reason for the disciples to fear.  They were on the same boat wit the Messiah.  Did they really think that God was going to let Jesus die on a boat before His ministry was completed? They should have known that they were going to make.  But they let fear consume them.

The second question that Jesus asked them was, “Have you still no faith?”  Here Jesus gets straight to the heart of the matter.  The disciples were consumed by fear because their faith was weak.  The problem wasn’t necessarily that the disciples did not understand all of these truths about Jesus.  The problem was that when they got in the midst of a storm they had no faith.  Despite all that they had seen Jesus do, and the teaching that they had just received from Him earlier, the disciples still lacked faith.  This is why Jesus asked the question.  As we said earlier, the disciples did show some measure of faith by turning to Jesus.  However, their faith was nowhere near where it should have been.

This rebuke of the disciples was certainly warranted, and it is a rebuke that we all need to hear.  In face, let me ask you the same questions that Jesus asked His disciples.  First, why are you so afraid?  Whatever it is that you fear, or whatever it is that makes you nervous or causes you to worry, why?  Do you not know who Jesus it?  He is the almighty God, and He has promised to care for you (Rom 8:28).  He came to die for you!  You can trust him in the midst of the storm. Oh how easily we forget this, and how desperately we must hold onto this truth.  Second, have you still not faith?  After all the ways that God has provided for you up to this point; after all the ways that He has revealed Himself to you in scripture; after see what Jesus is capable of, why is your faith still lacking.  Do not let the storms of life turn you focus away from Jesus.

VI. A Growing Response (v. 41)

This rebuke is one that we all needed to hear, and it is one that we all need to respond to.  And in verse 41we have the chance to see how the disciples responded to this rebuke.  Verse 41 says that “they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’”  In this response we need to see something important about the disciples that hopefully will be true of us as well.  That is, even though they did not respond well to this storm, they learned from and grew through this trial.  Notice how different their response is in verse 41 compared with the response to the storm in verse 38.  In both cases they feared, but in verse 41 it was Jesus whom they feared.  Literally they were terribly in awe of Jesus as they came to grips with His divine nature.  This kind of response is certainly appropriate (Prov 1:7; Deut 6:13).  We should fear God, not our circumstances.

In addition t fearing Jesus the disciples also realized that their faith had faltered because they did not completely know Jesus.  In other words, their faith faltered because their theology was weak.  That is why they began to talk amongst themselves about all of this.  This storm helped them to realize that even though they knew Jesus better than most people, they still had a long way to go.

The same thing could be said of us.  So, what about you?  How are you benefitting from the storms that God has brought into your life?  Have they helped you see what you fear more than God?  Have they helped you to see where your theology needs to grow?

Conclusion:

This is an amazing passage because it helps us to remember that God is in control of the circumstances of our lives; even when we are in the midst of turmoil.  It challenges us to have a bigger view of God—a stronger theology—so that we can remain faithful in the midst of a storm.  Here we see that Jesus cares about His people, and He is powerful enough to care for them.  Additionally, we see that God uses trials to help us grow.  Can you imagine how encouraging this mist have been for Mark’s original Roman audience as they went through the persecution of Nero.

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