Mark 4:35-41 (AD 28)
No matter how many times I read it, I can never quite get my head around the disciples saying, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (v.38) when the storm hit their boat.
For their accusation of Jesus not caring about them to be true, the following things would also have to be true:
- It was Jesus’ fault that the storm didn’t wake him up.
- Jesus didn’t care whether he lived or died.
- He cared about all the strangers he healed, but he didn’t care about his best friends.
Their accusation was absurd, and assumed the worst of him in a moment of crisis, despite all the evidence that he was, if nothing more, a flawlessly godly and kind person. Jesus’ response was amazing. First, he calmed the storm – and he didn’t just calm it, he “rebuked” it (v.39). He placed himself in a position of authority over the storm and treated it as an errant child.
Then he queried their fear and lack of faith, but without any reprimand, anger, or sense of being let down. He didn’t ask, for example, as he could have done: ‘What grotesque opinion do you have of me, that you think I could do something to change the weather and save you, but couldn’t be bothered or didn’t care enough about you to do it?’ He forced them, again, to confront their understanding about his identity. Who did they think he was?
They didn’t know. In fact, after those questions their fear was no longer about the weather – they were “terrified” of him.
What happens to you when crisis or pressure is on you? When money, health, friendship, marriage or church concerns press hard onto you? Do you think about God at all? And if you do, what do you think about God in those moments? Who is he to you? Does he sometimes seem more to you – as he did to the disciples – as a powerful guy who could fix things if only he was awake and cared enough?
It’s easy to slip into that kind of unhealthy relationship with God. That is partly why the first priority in our communication with God is not requests but praise, thanksgiving and an expressed desire for his glory. That is, we remind ourselves first of all of who we are talking to (as per the Lord’s Prayer).
When the reality of God’s majesty, love, holiness and compassion is at the forefront of our thoughts and personal time with God, it changes how we react to situations. We become more likely to arrive at moments of crisis and pressure wanting him and trusting him, able to find peace in our trial. And less likely to panic, lose hope and accuse God of deliberate or neglectful absence.
Our Saviour has rebuked and silenced the storm of sin. He’s not going to leave us now.