Posted on October 23, 2013
#25: Power Greater Than Our Storms
In her study Jesus the One and Only, Beth Moore wrote, “You and I really don’t have a clue what happens between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. If we did, it would freak us out.” I believe Beth is right. A strange comfort is that the twelve men who were closest to Jesus didn’t get it either—and when they caught glimpses of Jesus’ true power, they were terrified.
Today we finish Mark 4 with a look at one of Jesus’ most famous miracles.
Read Mark 4:35-41. Also look at Matthew 8:23-27 and Luke 8:22-25.
The sun was setting on another busy day of ministry. Jesus was tired, ready for a break from the crowds. He’d been teaching from a boat along the Sea of Galilee’s shore (4:1). The disciples got aboard and together they set out for the less populated east side of the sea. Jesus settled into the stern with a seat cushion under his head and fell into a deep sleep.
A Sudden Storm
The Sea of Galilee is surrounded by hills and valleys that form wind tunnels, causing frequent sudden squalls. The fishermen among Jesus’ Twelve were used to these. But on this night, a particularly bad storm descended—enough to panic seasoned seamen.
Drenched and frightened, their vessel filling with water from the crashing waves, the disciples woke Jesus. “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” they cried.
How often do sudden storms in our lives leave us drenched with fear, the thunder of our own pounding hearts crashing in our ears? We wonder if He’s watching. We feel helpless and hopeless. We cry out, “Lord, do You see? Do you care that I’m drowning in this trouble?” Then above the threatening waves we hear His voice.
A Sudden Calm
Jesus stood up, balancing Himself on the deck of the tossing ship. He spoke two words: “Siopa, pephimoso!” (Have you noticed that, in crisis, Jesus’ words were usually few? A lesson of its own, I think!) His words translated are, “Silence, be muzzled”—as in muzzling a barking dog. Was He muzzling the storm, or was He muzzling the force behind the storm? Might satan have been making yet another attempt to destroy the work Jesus and His disciples were about to do? If so, Jesus stopped him cold.
There was instant, complete calm.
The water dripping from their beards and clothes assured the disciples that there had indeed been a terrible storm raging a moment earlier. Jesus spoke again: “Why are you so deiloi (afraid like cowards)? Do you still have no faith?” In the sudden stillness, Jesus’ questions rang in their ears, their chests still heaving with panic.
The question rings for us, too. If we truly understand who He is and the authoritative power He’s ready to wield on our behalf, we know there is never any reason to fear. Commentator Matthew Henry wrote, “The ship that has Christ in it, though it may be tossed, cannot sink.” Cowardly fear is the polar opposite of faith. If satan can keep us quaking in the storm, he can keep us from turning to the One who can calm it.
From Fright to Fear
Their ears, still stinging from the salt spray, heard no howling wind—only the water gently lapping at the boat’s sides. They pushed their wet hair out of their eyes and looked at Jesus. “Who is this?” they asked. “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” In a flash of comprehension, their fright at the storm transformed into wonder-filled terror of the Lord of the storm.
Mark wrote, “They feared a great fear.” Every time our eyes see Him move, every time our hearts know He’s in control, we feel the same fear—not a cowardly fright, but a great, respectful awe at His total authority.
A Moment for Praise
Has there been a time in your life when you watched in awe as He calmed a storm, removing the threat of trouble? Praise Him for His power that is greater than any storm you face!
© Diane McLoud 2013