“Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40 NLT)
The Summer following my college graduation, my wife and I did an internship at the church she had attended growing up. We stayed with her parents, so our expenses were minimal, and we were excited the church was paying us $75 a week.
After we’d served a number of weeks, a couple in the church offered us the use of their condo in North Carolina. We were very appreciative, because with our limited funds we had no expectation of getting any kind of vacation. No one had ever done anything like that for us before, so when we opened the door of the condo we both stood in amazement – it was beautiful! We’d been surprised by grace and the condo was far nicer than we imagined.
In Mark 4:35-41 the writer tells of a time when Jesus and His disciples were crossing a lake, and a fierce storm arose and the waves began to crash over the sides of the small craft, threatening to sink it. Ironically, while the disciples were frantic, literally fearing for their lives, Jesus was fast asleep. The context suggests they were trying their best to bail the water out of their boat to keep it from sinking and not to disturb Jesus, but they soon discovered it was a losing battle. At that point, in desperation, they awakened Him.
As I read this story it caused me to ponder the question, “What were the disciples expecting when they went to Jesus?” Did they merely want Jesus to lend them a hand bailing? It was early in Jesus’ ministry, and He had only done a few miracles, so were they really expecting Him to rise up and calm the wind and waves?
The Bible says, “The disciples woke him up, shouting, ‘Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?'” (NLT) It seems their expectation was less focused on the storm and more on their own well being. Implicit in their despairing cries was the attitude, “We’ve done all we can and it’s obviously not enough. Is there anything You can do to assist us?”
I can’t know with certainty, but it seems they had a pretty low level of expectation at that point, especially in light of their response following Jesus’ rebuke of the wind and the calming of the waves when He called out, “Silence! Be still!” After the threat had passed, Jesus asked the disciples, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Jesus demonstrated unbelievable, unimaginable and certainly unexpected authority over the wind and waves, so much so the Bible says “the disciples were absolutely terrified. ‘Who is this man?’ they asked each other. ‘Even the wind and waves obey him!'” I believe it’s safe to say how Jesus responded to their need was far greater than their expectation.
While pondering this story I was reminded of our trip to North Carolina and our amazement at how much nicer the condo was than what my wife and I expected. Why? Because like the disciples, our faith hadn’t been stretched enough to realize what a great and powerful Savior we serve. So, my thoughts turned to Jesus’ question, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Does that seem an odd question to you, given the circumstances? Does the disciples fear seem indicative of a lack of faith to you? Wouldn’t you have been just as fearful? I’m quite confident I would have been? Yet Jesus is making an undeniable connection between the disciples’ fear and their lack of faith. Why is that important?
Let’s pick this up in tomorrow’s Post.
Blessings, Ed 😊