|Create Date||February 18, 2017|
|Last Updated||June 15, 2017|
(For word document click title above) Mark 4:35-41
The Storm Before the Calm
The story goes suddenly from peaceful to frightful (Storm Before the Calm) - just like our lives sometimes. This was the mother of storms – violent and the boat was being swamped. Jesus and his disciples were right in the middle of it. The boat was going to sink, the disciples thought they were going to die and didn’t know what to do. Amazingly Jesus was asleep. The disciples woke him and shouted; “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” They were terrified, resentful, angry. One definition of anger: unmet expectations. They expected Jesus to do something. But he didn’t seem to care. They felt abandoned.
Lesson: We are not exempt from storms
Put yourself in their sandals: “Why does he allow this storm? Why allow it to go this far? He told us to go across and now he sleeps when we need him most. We have just finished such a busy day helping him. We are exhausted. We need a rest. We have given of ourselves to everyone. He’s left us when we needed him the most. Disasters like this is for sinners, not us. Aren’t we special? We are Jews - the chosen people. What’s going on?!” We often act like the disciples. We define God’s love in terms of what is happening or not happening instead of seeing the love of God is constant. We say “This is happening therefore God is like this. We go up and down. We say if you are God why.... don’t you care?” But they are the wrong questions. “Lord don’t you care that my child is sick, I have no money, I feel so alone” etc etc. We feel like our questions and prayers are not being answered.
We don’t question God’s love, compassion etc when things are going well. But God's love, compassion is not measured by our circumstances nor is his kindness limited to our understanding. God cares just as much when the storms are raging as when the seas are calm. His mercy is not limited to the shining sun or the stillness of the waves.
When Jesus awoke he rebuked the wind – the word “muzzle” could be used. It was as if he was commanding a dog “Outside”! His compassion and love-power stilled the storm. He asked his disciples “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” He rebuked the storm but not the terrified disciples. He didn’t get angry with them, neither did he mock or accuse them.
Lesson: God wants us to know him intimately
When the storm had calmed the disciples asked “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Actually the real miracle in this story is that he slept in the storm. There was something about him revealed to them that they had not experienced before. But they missed it. They should have asked who is this who sleeps in the storm? They should have stood in awe about that. That was the real miracle.
The “who” question is so important. We see them moving from the “why” question to the “who” question. It is a relational word. Later Jesus asked Peter “Who do you say I am?” We think that when we ask God for help that’s it. It’s like putting money into a Coke machine and out comes the Coke. He does love us enough to supply our needs but before that his #1 agenda is to draw us in every situation in life into relationship with him so we know him as a deep and dearest friend. He wants to stretch our experience of him and educate us that he will never leave us and bring us into deeper rest. But it’s about knowing him and becoming his presence on earth - becoming givers of that love.
Lesson: Jesus fully shares in the disasters in our life.
He is in you, you are in him. He fully shares in your life. Not bits of it. Not Sunday bits of it. In everything. What happens to you happens to him. He shares fully in the crises of life. He was with them in the storm. The storm just don’t go away when he was with them. But he was showing how we should handle the storms of life. We say that’s impossible but he was showing that everything at that moment was in his Father’s hands. His Father had said “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Therefore I can sleep.” He had said that they should go to the other side. We know that Jesus only did that which he heard his father saying and did what he saw his Father doing. You know what happened when he met the demonised man on the “other side”. But he had the faith that his Father would carry them through the storm. His question to them revealed to them that he was not afraid. He was at peace to the point that it gave rest to his entire body. He didn’t expect them to be afraid at this point of their lives. He had demonstrated to them a life of a human being resting in God.
We are so far ahead of these disciples. We are now in Jesus Christ. That is our habitat. We are united with him. That’s what it means to be a Christian. He invites us to enjoy his peace along with him. Now we walk as he walks, living in tandem with him. “My peace I give to you.” he said. He demonstrated “let not your heart be troubled” and the “peace that passes all human comprehension.” We were created to live inside the love of God by faith. Therein is peace. It’s not about us having to send an SOS signal to God where ever he is. We are not on our own. He expected them to rest in his rest. They said he doesn’t care but their response should have been that he is resting therefore we can rest - we are one with him.
It was probably Peter who shook Jesus awake. A few years later (Acts 12) Peter was arrested for his faith in Jesus. After Pentecost he had the Holy Spirit. By now he had come to know the gospel and the love of God. He was in the prison cell facing execution. He was in chains and he was asleep. This could have been another vicious storm in Peter’s life and on the surface it was. But as the church prayed an angel opened the locked door and told Peter to get up and leave with him. But Peter snored. The angel had to shake Peter. They walked past all the guards and he was free for many years after that. He had learnt to enter into the rest of Jesus Christ now in him by the Holy Spirit!
Psalms to read and ponder on –Psalm 121, 56, 27, 127
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?”