Introduction: Prior to this passage, we see that Jesus taught few parables to His disciples about the Kingdom of God. Probably for the sake of privacy and relaxation, Jesus proposed a trip across the lake of Galilee. And in this passage, Mark, the Evangelist gives a graphic account of the stilling of the storm as they were crossing the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35-41).
Fallen Condition Focus: Just like these disciples, many times we find ourselves in the midst of storms, problems, and difficulties in our lives. But, this morning I want to remind you that:
Proposition: We can experience God’s peace even in the midst of the storm.
Interrogative Sentence: How can we experience peace in the midst of the storm?
Transitional Sentence: I want to give you four keys this morning through which we can experience peace even in the midst of the storm.
1. Trust the Word of God (verse 35).
Jesus did not say "Let us go into the midst of the sea and drown." He said, “Let us go over to the other side”. But the disciples didn’t trust the words of Jesus when they were caught up in a storm. This shows that the disciples still didn’t comprehend Jesus’ authority. They merely saw him as a Messiah who would set them free from the tyranny of the Romans. They didn't recognize that he had authority over the wind and the waves (cf. v. 41).
The words “Let us go over to the other side” had as much authority and power as the words, “Let there be light!” in Genesis 1:3. They were focusing on the wind and the waves instead of the words of Christ. They were focusing on the storm instead of the fact that Jesus was in the boat.
Saints, we need to trust the word of God even in the midst of a storm!
Somebody said that if you have only the Word, you will dry up; if you have only the Spirit, you will blow up. But if you have both the Word and the Spirit, you will grow up.
Prayer without the Word is like watering the ground without the seed. We need to read, meditate, and live in God's Word!
In 2 Peter 1:16-19: the Apostle Peter writes, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. 19 And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”
ESV translates verse 19 as: “we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed” – and this is referring to OT Scriptures.
While some understand that Peter's experience of the transfiguration makes "the prophetic word more fully confirmed,” others teach that this phrase means that the prophetic writings of the Old Testament are more sure than Peter's amazing experience at the Transfiguration.
It is an amazing assessment of the validity of Holy Scripture that Peter declares it to be more dependable than a voice from heaven.
Many of us cry out to God for a word while our Bibles are lying in a shelf. God has already spoken to us through his Word! The written Word of God is a surer prophetic word than an audible voice! Stop looking for a supernatural, audible voice and start reading your Bible. God will speak to you through his Word.
Ps 119:165 says, “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.”
The Bible says in Isa 26:3 – “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
The Word of God declares in Ps 119:92 that “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.”
Saints, in the storms, it is the Word of God that gives us peace, hope, and assurance and that’s why we need to trust the Word of God.
2. Do not stay in fear (verse 40).
Another thing that we need to remember when we are in a storm is that we should not stay in fear when a crisis hits us.
Let’s face it. All of us get afraid when we are in a difficult situation. But we must not stay in fear!
The cry of the disciples in verse 38 does not come as a request but as an expression of utmost fear. They felt that their Master didn't care about them.
Mark gives a graphic description of the fearful situation that the disciples were in. Verse 37 is rendered in the Analytical-Literal Translation as: “Then a great storm of wind comes, and the waves were splashing [epeballen] (imperfect tense – past continuous tense) into the boat, with the result that it is already being filled [Gemizesthai] (present tense – present continuous tense).”
The disciples were in a terrible situation. The storm was life-threatening. They were not afraid for no reason. Some of these disciples were experienced fishermen. But they understood that this storm could snatch away their very lives that night. Still, Jesus asked them, "Why are you so afraid?"
At first, this question may seem strange. Who in his right mind wouldn’t be fearful when a storm hits him? But Jesus went on to ask them as to why they didn’t have any faith. The implication was that if they had faith in what Jesus had told them, they wouldn’t have been fearful.
The antidote to fear is faith. Faith kills fear, just as fear kills faith. They are opposing forces. We need to choose to make faith the norm for our lives. We need to have faith in our trustworthy God.
The Bible doesn’t ask us to use faith during the times of crisis, but the Bible says in Habakkuk 2:4 that “the righteous live by faith.”
Ps 46:1-3 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
The Bible says in Ps 23:4 that “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
In verse 40, Jesus is essentially saying, “Why are you afraid when I'm in the boat?”
The phrases like “Fear not”, “Don’t be afraid” are used 365 times in the Bible.
Jesus says in John 14:1 that “Let not your heart be troubled.” We shouldn’t allow fear to rule over us.
Romans 10:17- faith comes by hearing the Word of God; in the same way, fear comes by hearing the world and Satan.
Some believers sing of trampling the serpents under their feet, but some are afraid of even cockroaches.
The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7 – “God did not give us a spirit of timidity (ESV: fear), but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”
Saints of God, when we are going through storms, we should not stay in fear! But we need to kill fear by faith!
3. Be assured of God’s goodness (verse 38).
The third key to experience peace in the midst of the storm is: Be assured of God’s goodness.
The disciples doubted God's goodness. They felt that Jesus didn't care about them. Before we criticize these "timid" disciples, we must search our own hearts. When we go through the storms of life, sometimes, we doubt God's goodness and even question his sovereign will. We wonder whether God is making a mistake by allowing certain painful situations in our lives.
But the fact is that God does care for us.
1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
The writer to Hebrews says, "15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Robert Wise’s words seem very wise when he advises us not to question why. He says “knowing that God stands with me means that I really don’t have to have an answer for the all-mysterious ‘whys’ of my life.” Wise suggests that instead of asking 'why?' we need to ask: What does this mean for me, and how can God use my situation?
I like the response of Job when he couldn’t understand what was going on in his life. The Bible says that “. . . He fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:20-21).
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
John 10:10 says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
These scriptures don’t mean that God will not allow difficult situations in our lives or He will not prune us when we need discipline.
But it says that our God is a good God who always intends good for us (cf. Gen. 50:20; Rom. 8:28), even if it means that He has to take us through storms in our lives.
When you go through a storm, trust in God's goodness. He is for you and is at work in your life.
4. Recognize that God is in Control (verse 39).
We see in verse 38 that Jesus was sleeping when the boat was being filled with water. While some scholars ascribe Jesus’ peaceful sleep to his own faith in the Father’s care, others see it as a sign of Jesus’ sovereignty and security.
Jesus’ subsequent actions (4:39) and the disciples’ response (4:41) seem to support the suggestion that Jesus, the Son of God, was sovereign over the storm!
In verse 39, we see that Jesus stilled the storm with a word. Jesus accomplished what in the OT only Yahweh could do (e.g., Gen 8:1; Ps 74:13–14; 104:4–9; 107:25–30).
This story assures Mark’s readers that in Jesus they have One in whom God was and is at work, one whom the “wind and the waves” do obey, even when it appears that the storms may overwhelm them.
When we have responded to an absolute call to discipleship and left all and risked our lives, we must also understand that the One who has called us will also preserve us in whatever circumstances we may find ourselves in.
Our God is the God who parted the Red Sea, stilled the sun, raised people from the dead, healed the sick, and controlled the nature.
This God is on our side! We need to have a revelation of who our God is!
In my own life, I experienced tremendous peace in the midst of a storm. After both my parents went to be with the Lord in a gap of fewer than 4 months, for the very first time in my life, I felt like an orphan. But even in the midst of my pain, the Lord comforted me and gave me peace that passes all understanding!
When we are in a storm, God may
Change the circumstances or
Deliver us out of the difficult circumstances or
Walk with us through the storms!
If you are going through a storm, don’t be afraid. Jesus is in the boat. He is in control! If you are going through a financial difficulty, let me tell you, Jesus is in the boat! If you are suffering from any sickness, remember, Jesus is in the boat! If you are depressed, cheer up, because Jesus is in the boat!
Experience the peace that Christ gives you even in the midst of your storm!
Read Romans 8:35-39 & Song (Hide Me Now).