A Word from Pastor Stephen – March 30, 2020
“That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’” (Mark 4:35-40 NIV)
Here we observe Jesus unplugging and doing one of the most human of all possible things – he is taking a nap. Jesus and the disciples have just finished a long day of teaching and healing. Jesus is tired and needed to rest.
It is dusk and Jesus instructs them to get into the boat so they can cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, but a severe storm comes along and threatens the boat and its passengers. The disciples are terrified that the boat is on the verge of capsizing and sinking. Where is Jesus during all this excitement? He is lying on a cushion fast asleep in the stern of the boat.
The disciples don’t seem too happy about this and in a panic they wake him up. “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” They seem to interpret Jesus being asleep as a sign that he is not interested in their safety. However, it really is a sign that Jesus is at peace. He has complete trust in God. Jesus actually seems a bit annoyed and perturbed that they woke him up. Jesus just says “Quiet! Be still!” The wind stops and the waves cease and everything is calm.
And then he says to them words that should give us all comfort and renew our faith each and every day. “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Jesus is basically telling them, do you think anything bad is going to happen to you, while I am on this boat with you?
We are in the midst of a storm right now. It is hard not to panic and be afraid of what might happen in my life, or in the economy, or even in the world. But we must try and remember that Jesus is in this boat with us. We should all hear his words and take them to heart. “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
The gospel message in a nutshell is always telling us to not be afraid. I don’t think it means we have nothing to fear, fear is a part of life and can be useful sometimes, but fear, if we allow it to fester and consume us, can prevent us from living fully in the peace and presence of God.
Jesus will calm this storm. Do not be afraid. Amen.