I have been asked recently, “Teach me to study like you do.” My first response would be, “Pray!” Always begin by inviting the inspiring Author to show you, tell you, giving you ears to hear and eyes to see. He is faithful. Then, when reading, look for the important details. In the story of Jesus calming the storm, there are two (of many) important details that help paint the picture. Mark chapter 4, (See also Matthew 8) Jesus has taught all day, as the crowd closes in, He steps into a boat and teaches from there. We pick up later in the evening. With the disciples, He tells them “Let us go 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.” (vss 35-36, emphasis mine) They were not alone out there. WAIT… WHAT! I thought there was only one boat. Nope. The picture takes on new detail, doesn’t it? Out on the water, without warning a furious storm came up. With an exhausting day of teaching, Jesus was asleep, the disciples cry out to Him, “HELP! Lord save us, we’re going to drown.” Jesus responds, “You of little faith, why are you afraid!” He got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and they obeyed.
Even with their ‘little faith’, they CRIED OUT for Jesus. Be assured that even our littlest cry for help – it DOES affect others. Invoking divine intervention, the narrative says the wind died down and was completely calm. The water was calm for the ‘other boats with Him’ as well as their own boatload. Also, when the Lord instructed they get a move on, He said, “Let us go to the other side.” If they were going to drown in the midst of the storm, He would have offered eulogies along with encouraging words of seeing them later in Paradise right there near the shore, (also assuming Peter would have had something to say about it). They were going to the other side! Side note: JUST after this victorious moment with Jesus, with all the high-fives, huge smiles, as they reach the other side, what do they encounter? A demonic attack – see Chapter 5. Principle? Enjoy the victory, but be ready for the next action-packed adventure with Jesus.
May we see and hear what Jesus says, and notice what is going on around Him. Details.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24
*Picture above, artist unknown, but I love it.
Did you know there are 12 (TWELVE !) documented types of storms? Each carry similar qualities, yet hold very unique elements. The list consists of ice, blizzard, snow, fire, dust, gale, wind, squall, (breathe) thunder, cyclone, hail and tornado. One thing is sure regarding a storm, we are not in control. All we can do is head for shelter and hang on!
Storms, the storms of life, metaphorically speaking, they can either make us or break us. I asked the Lord to show me the storm, then thought. “WAIT! Let me put some towels down first!” I have an amazing imagination. The disciples experienced a dandy of a storm. Mark chapter 4. In this story Jesus gathers the disciples and tells them “Let us go over to the other side.” (v. 35) Simple statement, so in the boat they go on the Sea of Galilee. Seemingly a normal journey across, but the narrative says, a furious squall arose. In Matthews account of this story he writes: “Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.” (8:24) A furious storm, the word he chooses to use is ‘seismos’, which literally means, ‘a shaking.’ It is the word we use to describe an earthquake of ‘seismic’ proportions. The violence of the storm shook the water in the lake creating waves that covered the boat and started filling it with water. A shaking. The disciples were … terrified. Recognize the reaction to the elements swirling around? Insecurity. Fear. PANIC!
The disciples on board, of these Peter, Andrew, James and John were all fishermen, seasoned men of the sea. These men knew how to handle a boat. Nevertheless, they too were afraid. One might say ‘even the pros get tossed to and fro.’ There is sad comfort in that, no one is exempt from the storms. No matter how well-educated, wealthy, attractive, experienced, even prepared, there WILL be moments the elements arise.
Jesus is asleep in the back of the boat. He wasn’t concerned of the danger out on the water, He could simply walk home (smile). The disciples cry out to Him, being rather worked up, basically saying, “We’re goin to DIE!” He stood up. “Quiet! Be still! I find it interesting that the wind and waves knew He was talking to them (and not the disciples) When He stood, He spoke and the storm calmed. It not only calmed but the forces of nature OBEYED Jesus. Here’s another interesting note, it says “There were also other boats with him.” (Mk 4:36) They weren’t alone out there! As the disciples cry out for Jesus, and He calms the sea, the sea calmed for the others as well. Our crying out to Jesus, and He working on our behalf DOES affect those around us!
Remember Jesus’ words of invitation, “Let us go over to the other side.” The other side. He would not have pointed to the other side if they were meant to DIE in the middle of the sea, in the middle of the journey. He says, “Let us go…” We are never meant to be in the storm alone. Jesus, in the boat, in the storm WITH them, with us to the other side.
When the calmness settled in, Jesus says to the disciples, “Why are you so afraid, do you still have no faith?” Oswald Chambers said: “What line of thinking do my thoughts take? Do I turn to what God says or to my own fears?” Moses writes “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6, Heb. 13:5 emphasis mine)
“He got up.” I love this. I want, NEED Jesus to arise in my boat, in the midst of MY storm. How about YOU? Do you have some shaking going on, is your life being swamped over by the elements swirling around you? Do you fear you will sink? When I pray for something serious, serious in the sense that this isn’t just a Goodnight prayer, or the prayer prior to a meal, I pray God stands up. He speaks! May you too say… in my boat, He stands, He speaks and the storm is calmed. (In Jesus name!)
BEWARE note: Immediately following the sea session, they come ashore and what do they now encounter? A demoniac man! Keep your eyes open folks!
He got up.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)