Matthew and Luke don’t bear this out in their records, but they do tell us about the disciple’s fear: “Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’” (Mat. 8:25). “And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing…!’” (Luke 8:24).
But Mark uniquely communicates their aggregate anxiety in the form of a question: “But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’” (Mark 4:38). The NET version translates it, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?”
What strikes me about this entire episode is that—put your seat belt on—JESUS INTENTIONALLY LED THE GROUP INTO THE STORM. You might need to read that again because it’s not a misprint.
Yes, the Lord purposely steered this little band of future church leaders into the tempest and then went to the back of the boat to lay down on a cushion for a power nap: “Now when He got into a boat, His disciples FOLLOWED Him” (Mat. 8:23). “On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” (Mark 4:35). “Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, ‘Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.’ (Luke 8:22). That’s right—it was Jesus who led the group on this frightening excursion.
And that’s because He was eventually going to leave the early church in the hands of this weak rabble of Jewish devotees. And one of the ways THEY would learn to trust in Him and lead with such courage was by riding it out on the whitecaps and watching His deliverance. “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?”
Did Jesus care?! Of course He cared—and that’s why He took them out on the boat trip across Galilee in the first place!
The disciples obviously knew that He had miraculous ability or they never would have awakened Him. They had witnessed His mighty works and knew something of His identity. If they believed that He was impotent to affect change on the circumstances they would have never roused Him from His slumber. You see, they knew that He had power; they just didn’t recognize that He had ALL power—over sickness and disease, over sin, over the grave, over demonic forces, and even over the elements themselves.
Jesus cared so much that He let them learn that important lesson out on the troubled waters of the sea.
Want a mustard seed for today?
If your boat is filling up with water from the monsoon, if the wind looks to collapse your sails and shatter your mast, IT COULD BE that’s exactly where the Lord wants you to be. You see, SOMETIMES Jesus takes you out on the lake and let’s you watch the squall (to the point where you think you’re going to die! Mark 4:38) so that you can learn to lean on and trust in Him!
If you never get scared, how will you ever learn to place your whole-hearted faith in Him (Job 13:15)?! How else can you learn that He really cares (1 Pet. 5:7)?
What really makes me chuckle about his storm story is that one minute the disciples are afraid of the wind and waves, and then the next minute, they’re really afraid of the Man who stopped it all with a sentence. “And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:41). What a way to learn and build faith!
Are you afraid? Is your craft about to capsize?
I have a recommendation. Don’t ask Jesus if He cares, because He does. Ask Him and trust Him…to calm the storm…in your heart (Phil. 4:6-7).