So what have we seen so far? On a sunny day, we have Jesus teaching along a seaside shore. We have a boat ride invitation with the destination being the other side. We have willing people accepting Jesus’s invitation to get on the boat. We have others who are intrigued just enough to follow along in their own boats. We have calm seas, and then in an instant we have stormy weather. We have wind and waves that are threatening to overtake the boat. We curiously have Jesus sleeping and the disciples panicking. We have TROUBLE. Oh, we also have accusation. Let’s not leave that out. There is nothing like being accused of being unjust, uncaring and judged unfavorably when it is nowhere near the truth. Most importantly we have Jesus who is on board and in the midst of all that is going on.
Storms, I am sure on the sea are no fun. I have never experienced one when I was in the middle of the sea and hope not too. The closest I have gotten to that experience is through the movies. I remember watching a movie called “The Perfect Storm” which is about fishermen who are caught in the midst of a horrific storm on the ocean. The scenes are so realistic you almost get seasick just watching the movie. It is good. One curious question comes to mind. How is it that the disciples are so fearful in this storm? After all they should be used to encountering storms on the sea. Some were fishermen and I am sure that this is not their first storm experience. What is it about this storm that brings them into such a panic? Oh I am beginning to see it now. It not necessarily the storm itself that causes such panic but is the circumstance that surrounds the storm that can bring new depth to the intensity of the turmoil. I am sure you can relate. When you are given a pink slip from a job and it is just yourself that you are responsible for, however uncomfortable and distressing the situation is, it does not compare to having the same situation to happen but this time you have a wife and young children you are directly responsible for. Circumstances have changed. Circumstances like the natural changes of life precipitated by getting older that are beyond our own control, the changes on your job, financial struggles and setbacks and health problems. In the midst of this we sometime forget that God is the God of any circumstance we might face and the circumstances of the storm will not compromise, nor negate the destination, the goal, His word has declared for your life. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God will help you get through your current set of circumstances that you are facing right now. All we must do is WAKE UP THE WORD within us! Bolts of lightning, loud thunder, strong winds, waves and torrential rains were all circumstances trying to derail the preordained destination, but those things did not stifle the faithfulness of Christ.
Did you know that storm winds are mostly counterclockwise in circulation? The winds in a hurricane, tropical storm, cyclone, and any cyclonic storm in the northern hemisphere blow in a counterclockwise direction.
Let’s look at Mark 4:39-40. These two verses are where I want to pull my final three points. The King James Version says “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. And He said unto them, why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?”
1 – “He arose and rebuked the wind”
2 – “And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
3 – “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?”
Point 1 – “He arose and rebuked the wind”
“Jesus, wake up! Get up Jesus!” Can you hear them above the external storm? Jesus rises up and rebuked the wind. “The original Greek said “having been thoroughly raised He admonished the wind and He said to the sea be silent, be muzzled.” The disciples are made conscious of their fragile humanity in the presence of this storm. Jesus, the Lord of the winds and waves, deepens His relationship with His disciples by using His power in the service of compassion for them and by using the storm to build up their faith. “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind and the waves died down and it was completely calm and serene. Here the kicker, a Nu Mind moment, maybe it’s just how I think, but Jesus says “Quiet! Be Still!” His words are so powerful that ALL of the storms ceased their howling and became calm. Yes in my mind there were two storms represented at that moment. They are the external storm which is easy to see and recognize in this story and the internal storm that the disciples are illustrating. I wonder which storm is more important for Jesus to address. Again, this is just me thinking in print, so to speak, so bear with me. Could it be His main target was the internal storm but because of who He is the external storm recognizes the authority in His voice and it lines up also? I was thinking of a situation where the kids and the dog are yelling, barking and disturbing your peace. (smile) You cannot take it anymore and you just say, sit down and be quiet and both the dog and the kids sit and become quiet. There is one command, yet two different entities obeying the one command, recognizing the voice of authority and lining up with its directive.
One more thing, the Bible states “He arose and rebuked the winds”. Why did He not just say those same words “peace, be still” lying down, turn over and go back to sleep? I told you, I think of stuff, real stuff. Would not His words have been just as effective? I am just saying. What is the significance of Him standing? I believe Jesus stood in order to give illustration that He stands alongside His people, in every situation, to give them encouragement, peace and strength. He does not consider Himself so much, so Holy, that He refuses to stand alongside you in whatever circumstances you are in. Just to know He is standing with you, by you and in you should encourage each follower of Christ. Not only does He stands but He speaks, not from a lazy, I really do not have time to be bothered position, but He speaks from a position of authority, dominance, togetherness and power. Standing alongside you!
Point 2 – “And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
Jesus arose and said “Quiet, be still and calm down”. Remember I said storm winds are mostly counterclockwise in circulation. To be counter is to be against something else. Which storm REALLY was counter to the destination given by Jesus? I submit to you it was the storm inside that was creating the hindrance more than the external. Can you not hear the winds howling, “We are not going to make it?” “This looks bad.” “We are going down”. “We are finished”. “In all of my years, I have never seen something this bad”. “We are going to die.” All these affirming words are creating reality. The more they talked, the worse it got both in their minds and imagination and ultimately their reality. When we recognize the difference between the external and the internal storms we will find that the internal is much more powerful than the external. What if Jesus ONLY spoke to the external storm in this story? Not that the sea had any perception, but to show that the power of His voice can reach the elements which are without feelings and the ability to make decisions. Would that have abated the internal storms of the disciples? What if Jesus NEVER spoke to the external storm in this story? Could He not have called a “quiet, calm down” result to the internal storm raging within the disciples? Fast forward to today. What if He does not change the external circumstances in your life? Can He not give you peace that passes all understanding? Can this peace be so impacting that friends and family wonder how you are making it through and how you are so calm and content even in the midst of the storm? God still reigns over the storm. The voice, the expression of God will still prevail in every aspect of every storm we might encounter. The “peace” He speaks is not an exemption from storms but it is being assured in the Word of Jesus and His plan for you and a knowing that He is with you, in the boat. King David put it this way, “yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me”. Let me add… standing! In nature, storms of all types have created the beautiful landscapes and sceneries we now find so breath taking. Let’s have a “nu mind” set and be grateful for those storms that are in His control and allow them to shape and create us a more perfect vessel to illustrate His Glory.
Point 3 – “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?”
Ok here, you have to allow me to be me. In my mind I can imagine at least one or two of the disciples saying to themselves or whispering to each other “No he didn’t. Tell me I did not hear what I heard him say.” The original Greek puts Jesus words this way. “And He said to them, why cowards are you? Not yet you have trust?” Maybe this is Peter’s thought, “Ok Jesus, who are you calling a coward? Just because my voice was as high pitched as an eight year old girl on a roller coaster ride, does not mean I am a coward, well not really… I am just saying.” ((Smile)… I know, pray for me)
Before I proceed, there is something significant in the order of Jesus’s actions. He speaks to the storm first before speaking to His disciples. Jesus is considerate enough to remove the danger or at least the noise of the storm before administering the rebuke and ultimately the lesson presented by the storm. The disciples would not have been in a state of hearing and listening if the storm causing the distraction, either external, internal or both had not been addressed. Now that He had their full attention He says “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?” In today’s vernacular He says “What was up with that?” I do not think it was their natural anxiety of danger that He is addressing. After all we are not robots. (I just heard somebody reading this entry say…thank you) But I believe He is addressing their mistrust, their unbelief, while in the midst of the storm, concerning what He had previously said about their destination before the storm arose. Most interpretations of this verse say, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of LITTLE faith?” You see they had to have had some faith IN Jesus. Who did they wake up? Who did they turn too? But they only had a LITTLE faith. Their faith fell short in the power to dispel fear, mistrust and unbelief in the presents of the storm. I am personally not condemning them. How many times have my faith fallen short, or even yours? The strength of our faith is shown in our actions despite our natural tendency to be afraid when we are in a storm.
The disciples had a little faith IN Jesus but they did not have the faith OF Jesus. There is a difference. Now LITTLE here is not dealing with the quantity of the faith they possessed from the Father. It is dealing with the extension of the faith they possess. I am always confused when Christians pray like the disciples in Luke 17 “Increase our faith”, as if the Father rations it out a little at a time. Jesus in His response in Luke 17 said if you had faith of grain of a mustard seed you could move this tree, this mountain. You just need to use the measure of faith He has given to all men. Use what you got and you will find you have MORE than enough. For the past few months the Father has been speaking to me about how about how OUR faith gets in the way. This is just me and I would appreciate any feedback on this, but I can have faith IN Jesus, yet lack the faith OF Jesus. If the disciples had the faith OF Jesus, the storm, with its waves and rocking back and forth would have lullabied them to sleep like it did Christ. Why? Because He said let’s go to the other side. His faith is not dissuaded or detoured by circumstances. That is why He tells us to “say to the mountain” not pray and ask Jesus to say to the mountain. When we have faith IN someone we rely on that person to do the work, when we have the faith OF someone we walk in the authority of that person to do the work.
I wonder what would have happened if the disciples full in the faith OF Jesus would have said to storm “Quiet, be still….. SHADD UP!” Hhhmmm! I am just saying! Paul says in Galatians 2:16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith OF Jesus Christ, even we have believed IN Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith OF Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Even when we pray and we use the phrase “In Jesus name”, we must understand that is given to us to use in authority, as representatives. Before leaving Jesus told His disciples “in my name, ye shall cast out devils, in my name ye shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover… in my name. You have the authority of my name. With this authority we must not only have faith IN Jesus, but the faith OF Jesus.
Conclusion: Let’s keep our mind on the destination He has set, knowing He is with us. Wake up the Word in the midst of our storms and despite our natural tendency to fear have faith IN Christ and the faith OF Christ.
PLEASE Feedback and comments are welcome.