Mark 4, 35-41
On a map of Israel the sea looks like a large lake, but from a small fishing boat it would look enormous, especially in a storm. They are strong, self-reliant men who would handle moderate danger as a matter of course. The danger on this evening is not moderate, but deadly.
“He himself was in the stern, asleep on a cushion” . Sleeping through danger can be a sign of great faith. The disciples interpret Jesus’ sleep as evidence that he does not care enough to save them (and himself) from impending death.
“Teacher don’t you care that we are dying?”. “Help us! Do something!” A great leader can often help people to solve great problems, but Jesus’ casual attitude seems to insure that he will be no help in this urgent crisis. How can he help if he will not even rouse from his slumber? Like those early disciples, we pray panicked prayers to a God who appears to have abandoned us.
“He awoke and rebuked the wind” . Jesus’ calm voice and brief commands reflect his authority over the elements. The great storm of verse 37 is replaced by a great calm in verse 39.
“Why are you so afraid? How is it that you have no faith?”. The disciples fail the faith test. They were afraid of the storm, and now they are afraid of Jesus. “They were greatly afraid”. We would expect the disciples to rejoice at the calming of the sea, but instead they are greatly afraid of Jesus’ Godly power as they were afraid of the storm.
“Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (v. 41b). Their question provides the clue to the answer. Their question also provides the key to this story, which does more than to reveal Jesus’ power.