It probably started out as just another ordinary day, an ordinary boat ride before all of them became afraid. They looked around everywhere for Jesus and finally found him sleeping in the midst of the angry storm that was no doubt beating up their boat. They said to Him “Teacher don’t you care if we drown?” which is an incredibly transparent, human response to their situation. They had every reason in the world to know they were safe, they had the Son of God with them; they’d seen him perform miracles, big time miracles, but yet they were afraid in the midst of that storm. Both Matthew and Mark tell us that Jesus responded by getting up, and speaking to the angry water:
“Peace! Be still” (Mark 8:39)
And the storm was over, just like that. Jesus kindly rebuked them for being afraid, “Why are you so afraid do you still have no faith?” (Mark 8:40) The disciple’s response: “What kind of man is this that even the winds and the seas obey Him?” (Mark 8:41).
Again, I have landed on a passage of scripture that doesn’t read like I wish it would. Of course they were afraid, and so are we even though we have seen Him perform miracle after miracle in our lives. And they still weren’t in love with Jesus enough to know that He wasn’t going to let them drown. And neither are we.
The language that Jesus used to calm the sea that day is interesting. Most translations us the word “quiet” instead of “peace”, but I prefer the latter, but understand why many translations use the word quiet instead of peace. The word here, from the Greek means
“Mute, or involuntary quiet, inability to speak”
If you have ever seen the sea when it is angry and you think of this story in it’s context, it is pretty powerful. I find it interesting that Jesus decided to calm the storm that day instead of His followers.
I wish that He would give me the kind of peace that He gave the sea that day. But, alas, my voice works just fine, there is an ability to speak and I certainly am not quiet, ever. I am not unlike those on the boat that day. I have seen God perform miracles not only in my life but also in the lives of others. If I list out the things that I am afraid of, I can almost always mark it off the list because I have seen Him take care of that fear before. So, why am I of little faith? Why do I have fears when I know the One that even the wind and the waves know his name? What is my problem?
Jesus’ “rebuke” of the disciples that day seems harsh, but like everything else in the Bible, it is there for a reason. And not unlike other passages of scripture that we’ve studied, I can’t get this one out of my mind. So, again, why am I of little faith? Did He calm the sea that day and not the disciples to give them an opportunity of obedience and faith?
I land back at the hallmark verse of this series:
“I will keep him in perfect peace for thee who’s mind is stayed on me; because he trusts in me” Is 26:3
The disciples that day had Jesus right there with them and they were still afraid. It makes me feel a little less guilty of having fear in life—the kind of fear that steals my peace. The “quiet” peace– the one kind we all seek. What would have happened if just one of them on the boat had said “hey we have Jesus on the boat with us, it may look bad, but I am pretty sure He has this”. Would they have still been afraid had they set their mind on Him and not the storm outside? Would we be less afraid if we set our minds on Him and not the storms?
Fear steals peace, and it steals it in grand fashion. And I think that we want God to calm the storm instead of us. Because when we are operating in that perfect Peace, we are accountable for that. People will see that Peace and we are responsible to tell them from whence it came. So, I think we want Him to calm the storm, so that we don’t have to examine the root of our problem; deep down, we think he wants us to drown. If He calms the storm and not us, we have reason to let another storm steal our peace. Do we want Peace as much as we say we do? Has life beat us up so badly that we really don’t believe that He didn’t bring us out here to drown? Do we feel valuable enough to ask Him to calm us instead of the storm?
Because He already has given us the recipe to give us Peace, just set our minds on Him. It is a promise, perfect Peace when we keep our minds stayed on Him. How hard can it be?
I love the song by Tanner Clark “Do Not Be Afraid”
“Fear, aint nothing but a liar when doubt comes knocking at your door, on your knees, you will find peace, do not be afraid”
I am going to receive the gentle rebuking I have gotten this week as I really tried to change what I was going to write. Because I am afraid of so many things, and my mind is definitely not set on Him. I know the result, if I will just do it. Because He doesn’t want me to drown, He desires a relationship with me where I bring my fears to Him and trust Him with them. When my heart is at Peace, it doesn’t really matter what is going on outside. Jesus chose to calm the storm that day instead of his disciples. And in doing that He taught them a valuable lesson, one that they still didn’t understand all the way to the cross. And so I ask myself that same question, why am of I little faith?