13 Jesus’ Encounter with the Disciples in the Storm


This story starts near the end of Mark chapter 4. Jesus had just been sharing a really important parable. In the first 34 verses of Mark 4, Jesus was teaching about the parable of the sower which talks about faith and holding on to the word of God to grow. Jesus also taught about the growth of corn symbolizing the growth we experience in our Christian life. Growing in faith. And it is capped off with the mustard seed which we know definitely is connected with faith. So Jesus has been teaching all about faith in the hearing of the disciples.

And now what does He say?

  • Mark 4:35
    And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
  • He turns to the disciples to get into a boat and go over to the other side.

Let’s keep reading

  • Mark 4:36-37
    36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
  • The disciples get into the boat and they encounter one of the worst storms that they have probably ever experienced! It was so bad that the boat was already full! Meaning, it was beginning to sink!

Where was Jesus?

  • Mark 4:38
    And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
  • Jesus was sleeping! He had been so exhausted from the day’s work that the storm didn’t disturb him at all. He was filled with the peace of heaven, asleep with the assurance that He was safe in His Father’s arms and nothing could break his sleep. Except the disciples of course. He didn’t awake to the howling of the storm but to the cry of the disciples.
  • What did they say to Him? Master, don’t you care that we perish? I mean, what a silly question to ask right? Jesus, you don’t care? It’s like asking our parents, don’t you care that we are perishing?
  • It could have been said a different way. Jesus, come help, there is a storm! But the way the disciples said it, you could sense their frustration, you could sense their anger at Jesus. Sleeping while they were trying to keep the boat afloat. They were working while He didn’t even lift a finger to help. Jesus didn’t do his part while they were madly scared for their own life.
  • Do you ever feel tempted to get angry at God? Why God didn’t you help me? Why is it that you seemed to be just standing there whilst I am in the midst of all this danger, trouble, temptations and trials? God don’t you care? Don’t you care that I’m going through all this trouble? God don’t you care that my family is hungry? God don’t you care that people are gossiping about me? God don’t you care that I don’t have enough money? Don’t you care that I’m going through all this marriage problems? God, don’t you care that I’m perishing?! And to make matters worse, it was at the command of Jesus that they got into the boat. It was HIS fault, and yet He was doing nothing to help now! We can understand to a certain extent why the disciples are crying out to Jesus like that.
  • However, many times, our cries are not cries like what the disciples are going through. Ours is just small problems. We didn’t do well in school. We had a fight with our friends. But the disciples, they were really about to die. There was a huge storm! The boat is sinking! They’re fighting for their lives!
  • And they cry – Jesus don’t you care that we are about to perish? Christ who came to live in our world. God in the human flesh. Jesus whose life was full of good deeds of healing, casting our evil spirits, preaching the gospel to everyone. Christ was has died on the cross for each of us. And many times we are tempted to think like the disciples – Jesus don’t you care?
  • He cares about the sparrow that falls to the ground. He cares to number even the hairs of our head. Of course He cares! Of course He loves us. His watch care over us is more earnest than that of our own parents! But yet we still are tempted to disbelieve that God doesn’t love us or care for us.
  • If God did not care, He would have destroyed us all a long time ago! But yet He bears long with our cries and our unreasonable outbursts.

So how does Jesus respond to the cry of the disciples?

  • Mark 4:39
    And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
  • Jesus gets up and calms the storm. Immediately, peace comes over the sea. Everything is back to normal again.

But Jesus is not done yet. He now turns to His disciples.

  • Mark 4:40
    And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
  • He asks them 2 questions. Why are you so fearful? How is it that they had no faith?
  • The disciples were probably so shocked at the events that they were speechless. They had never seen anyone calm a storm before. This was the first!
  • But why were they so afraid? Look, remember, the storm was so bad that we’re told in verse 37 that the ship was full of water! So they’re sitting there in the boat with water in it, the sea is calm again, the storm has passed, and Jesus asks them why are they so afraid?
  • How would you have answered? Uh Jesus, look around you. We have reason to be afraid! The boat is sinking! It’s full of water! But yet Jesus asks that question implying that they had no reason to be afraid.
  • Why? Because Christ was right there in the boat with them! Even though He was asleep, He was right there! Maybe they had thoughts that Christ would be protected and not them.
  • You know I think that it’s normal to be afraid. But what does your fear lead you to do? Because it seems like in this case, Jesus was saying that it was not good for them to be so fearful to the extent that they began doubting that Jesus even cared about their situation. That is where it showed their lack of faith!
  • How they accused Jesus of not caring, it allowed their fear to make them unreasonable. They were desperate and in their desperation they cried out to Jesus in anger! DON’T YOU CARE?!!
  • Look at what the bible has to say about fear.
  • 1 John 4:18
    There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
  • When we get to the point where fear overtakes and it makes us doubt the love someone has for us, then we have taken it too far. Look, if you put me into a den of lions, I will be afraid. That’s normal. My heart will start to beat faster, I’m going to start to sweat. I mean, when I see cockroach, I begin to fear. I start sweating and just want to run away! I’ll get the bug spray and spray it until the whole insect is covered and white!
  • I don’t think there’s anything wrong to be afraid. But what else happens when you get afraid? Do you blame God for putting you in that fearful situation? Do you scream out to God and say why? Why did you put me through this? Don’t you care!?!?
  • You see, we can get to this point in our life experience, where we get so fearful that we believe that God doesn’t care about us anymore. We forget about the cross. We forget about all the goodness that He has showered on us.
  • It’s like the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. They just saw the 10 plagues fall down. They just saw the red sea part. They just saw all these miracles and clear evidences of God’s care and love for them. And then they come to a place that has bitter water and they blame God for bringing them out to die! We are so easily influenced by our surroundings sometimes isn’t it? We leave our faith and trust in God just like that!
  • So does our fear lead us to the extent that we start questioning God’s love for us? That you start blaming God?
  • Fear is opposite to love. That’s what 1 John 4:18 says. And when that happens, it affects our faith.
  • Galatians 5:6
    For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
  • When we begin to doubt God’s love for us, it affects our faith!
  • So when Jesus asked the disciples these 2 questions, they were really connected! Why are you so fearful, why don’t you have any faith? Their fear had made they lose their faith! Faith that God cared for them. Faith that Jesus had ordained them to preach the gospel to the whole world and they were not about to lose their life on a boat to a storm with Jesus the Son of God right there with them – even though He was asleep!
  • And so Jesus asks us today – where is your faith? How come such small trials sweep you away? Why do we lose our faith on such small matters, leading us to think that God does not care about us anymore?
  • Look at how the Bible describes the wicked.
  • Isaiah 57:20-21
    20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
  • The wicked have no peace. They are like troubled waters. What this text is NOT saying is that the wicked have no peace because only bad things happen to the wicked. No, this is describing their hearts! The wicked have no peace in their hearts. They are constantly fearful. Small things happen, but to them it’s a big thing and they react so negatively.
  • How do we get troubled over small things?
  • God why didn’t my friends invite me to their house? Everyone else is there, why not me? And we get troubled. God why didn’t you bless me with my grades and give me an A even though I studied so hard. God don’t you care? God why did you give me a flat tire on the way to work this morning? God don’t you care?! Small things that so easily separate us from God.
  • Remember though, the disciples were not going through something small. They were fighting for their lives! The greatest storm they had ever faced! God wants to remind us that He wants to build us up so that even in the big storms of life we have nothing to be afraid of. That we won’t turn from Him even when we go through HUGE devastating trials where we might be tempted to leave God because we’re thinking He doesn’t care about us anymore.
  • Romans 5:1
    Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
  • We can have peace with God if we learn to live by faith, if we are justified by faith. It’s not that we will have peace because nothing bad happens to us anymore when we follow Jesus. But that He will give us peace in our hearts when trials come on us.
  • Just look at Paul when he was in prison – he could still pray and sing and hold on to his faith. Look at Job, even though he lost his wealth, his kids, his health he could still say in Job 13:15 – though You slay me yet will I trust You!
  • It’s not that nothing bad will happen, but that when it happens, we can still have peace in our hearts and won’t be tempted to blame God. We can still have a good sleep at night. We don’t have to be troubled and allow our minds to be plagued with evil thoughts. We can have the assurance that we are in the right place, even though circumstances seem forbidding, and God is right there with me.

Coming back to the disciples, Jesus was showing that they had still a lot of room to grow. Grow in faith and grow in love and grow in trust towards Christ and His leading. After all, it was Jesus that asked them to get into the boat and go over to the other side. But they forgot that all of Christ’s words were not just biddings, but they were enablings. All His commands, they weren’t just commands but they were promises. So the fact that Christ said – let’s go to the other side, it was a promise that they would get there.

As a result, we read in Mark 4

  • Mark 4:41
    And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
  • They feared exceedingly. They weren’t afraid. But that were fear there means they were in awe of Him. Jesus was strengthening their faith. He showed them that He was in control of the wind and the sea and that they had nothing to be afraid of.

And so these stories come down to us today in 2021. When you read the scriptures, we must learn to fear God. We must learn to be in awe of Him, to reverence Him, to understand His mighty working power. That God will lead you through whatever trial you are going through today. And maybe it’s not the taking away of the trial, but that He will give you the strength to get through it. Today God is looking for a people that have the characteristics of those described in Revelation 14

  • Revelation 14:12
    Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
  • They have patience to endure the trials they are going through right now instead of being tempted to blame God. They have the faith of Jesus, their faith is the same as that of Christ’s. They know that God loves them and cares for them inspire of trials that they face.
  • This must be our experience because the Bible tells us that there is coming a time of trouble in the future such as the whole world has never seen before. Worse than this pandemic and whatever lockdown you have gone through. Worse than losing a loved one from this covid disease. Worse than the loss of your health and life.
  • It will be so bad that the Bible says in Matthew 24:22,”And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”

So whatever trial you are facing today, I’m not asking you to suck it up and just ignore it, but learn from it. Allow your experience that you face to be a mirror in which you can reflect on the condition of your spiritual life and your walk with Jesus.

Do you have the faith of Jesus? Do you have His patience? And if you know the answer to that already, then it’s not too late to get ready. Today is the day of your salvation. Christ can work in each and every one of us if we allow Him to, if we surrender and accept Him as our Lord and Saviour.

You just got to be willing to say with me today, “Jesus I accept you as Lord of my life. I surrender my life to you. Please come in today and help me to live the life that you want me to live.”

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