To continue on with our theme of Jesus’ return, let’s look more at being ready. Our citizenship is in heaven, right? One way or another, Jesus is coming to get us (either by angels when we die or at the rapture), so we look forward to that, right? In the meantime, we are supposed to stay awake and be ready because we do not know the day or hour of his return.
Fair enough. We also know that Jesus gives us his peace whilst we wait. This peace is fickle in that it comes and goes – not because Jesus’ promise is weak but because we lose sight of him and wander into all sorts of trouble. Remember, we can have peace in any circumstance that life may throw at us. Everything around us may fall apart, at no fault of our own, yet we may have peace. If we lose that peace, we can be sure we took our eyes off Jesus.
Let’s look once at what the boys experienced one evening when they went for a little boat ride with Jesus.
Mark 4:35-37 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.
Let’s pause for a moment. Everything was all hunky-dory then everything fell apart. We see in Matthew, Mark, and Luke that the event directly precedes the meeting of the demon-possessed man. It is my thought that Satan was trying to kill Jesus before he got to him. Think about it. In this one man, Satan was able to terrorize a whole community. It appears that Jesus was intentional on this trip. It only makes sense that Satan didn’t want him to complete his mission.
Can you imagine, therefore, what the people in the boat must have experienced, including Jesus? Let’s take a look.
v. 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?”
My guess is that this was not a casual comment. Remember, many of these were seasoned seamen. They knew how to handle a boat. Yet imagine being in it and waves breaking into the boat. The waves were coming in OVER the boat. They didn’t have modern life vests. I’m sure they had no seatbelts to hold them secure. I bet those boats were being tossed around like rubber duckies in a child’s bathtub. Of course, they were scared! They were scared out of their minds!
Let’s see what happened next. Notice Jesus’ opinion of them.
v. 39-40 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. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
What? Why are you so afraid? Is Jesus just teasing? I doubt it. Look at their reaction to that.
v. 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”
Again, I believe Satan was behind this storm with the intention to kill Jesus. Can you imagine the intensity and ferocity? Yet Jesus chides them for being afraid.
What can we take away from this story for our own lives? First, I think we need to recognize that Jesus relates fear to a lack of faith. Not only that, but faith is greater than fear. Faith and fear would make for a good bible study. To live in fear is to live without faith. That’s sin. Second, horrible things happen. The fact that we may have not deserved them has nothing to do with the fact we are required to have faith and not fear. Jesus is showing us in this story that faith is the requirement. Fear is a lack of faith. We don’t want to be in fear. Third, Jesus is Lord of all. Look how he stopped that storm. Three words turned that violent storm into a great calm. Fourth, we are to recognize Jesus as the one who is our safety, whether he allows the waves to come crashing into the boat or during the storm. He didn’t say, “Here is your calm. Now, you have peace.” No, Jesus pointed to their lack of faith while the storm was at its worst. We are to be unafraid then just as we are during the calm.
Easier said than done. However, faith is a gift that we have only partially opened. We don’t inherently have faith, nor is it something we do on our own. God is the one who gives us this gift. At the same time, it is a gift for us to explore and develop. How do we do that? By seeking more and more of Jesus. The hungrier we get for the Bread of Life, the more we will be satisfied. The more we drink from the water that Jesus gives, the more faith we will have. And the more faith, the less fear.
See? Easy as pie.
Father, keep it coming! I like where this is going. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers