Summary: In Mark 4:35-41, Jesus reveals His power over the storms of life through 1) The Crisis (Mark 4:35–38a), 2) The Cry (Mark 4:38b) and 3) The Calm (Mark 4:39–41)
One hundred years ago, an “unsinkable” luxury liner sank on its maiden voyage. More than 1,500 men, women, and children tragically lost their lives after the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg on the night of April 12, 1912. Shockingly, many who perished had refused to board the lifeboats at first, believing the ship as truly indestructible and would not sink! John Harper, as depicted in the biography: the Titanic’s last hero, set his only child in a lifeboat before setting his sights on the salvation of the lost souls around him. As the ship took on water and passengers swarmed the decks. “Let the women, children, and the unsaved into the lifeboats!” was Harper’s cry. This man went down with the ship and in icy waters under a starry sky as he searched for doomed souls who needed his message of love and salvation.
His biographer wrote: " Harper stood as a giant of unselfishness in a world where most men are obsessed with looking out for “number one,” a giant of sacrifice in a world where most men are unwilling to deprive themselves, a giant of passion for souls in a world where few men possess a deep desire for the salvation of their fellow men." (Adams, M. (2012). The titanic’s last hero. Greenville, SC: Ambassador International.)
The Early Church picked up on Mark’s intended symbolism: Christ in a boat with his followers on a stormy lake is a picture of the Church in the midst of the world. Early Christian art often depicted the Church this way in paintings and mosaics. Christ shares the boat with us. Because of that, the boat will never sink! Fear is endemic to the human situation. Perhaps today you are fearful. Perhaps you fear life in general, that you will not be adequate for the challenges which are coming. It is a sort of amorphous fear, but it is real and continual. Maybe you fear some unspoken problem which has no apparent solution. The winds are howling, and no hope is on the horizon. What should you do? Understand and believe that it is through storms, afflictions, hardships, and challenges that you grow. Without them, you would be captive to the terrible tyranny of self. Understand that Christ wants to develop you through the storms ahead. Know that he is completely capable of delivering you with a word. He is the same Christ who calmed the storm. Know that he is in the boat with you. He is in you. Exercise this faith and lay down your fear. For when this faith is active, fear vanishes! (Hughes, R. K. (1989). Mark : Jesus, servant and savior. Preaching the Word (116). Westchester, Ill.: Crossway Books.)
When we experience a life crisis we don’t need a fantastical story to take our mind off our problems. We don’t need simply a story of a good example to emulate. We don’t need a moral pep talk to do the right thing. We need a deliverer. We need someone to be there for us who is big enough to overcome the problem. "God is Big Enough to See me through the Storms of Life". In Mark 4:35-41, Jesus reveals His power over the storms of life through 1) The Crisis (Mark 4:35–38a), 2) The Cry (Mark 4:38b) and 3) The Calm (Mark 4:39–41)
1) The Crisis (Mark 4:35–38a)
Mark 4:35-38a On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. (And they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?") (ESV)
Jesus’ day could have begun with the accusation of being in league with Satan (3:20–30). If so, he had dealt with the religious leaders, then with his family who had come to take him home by force (3:31–34). He had also told parables from the deck of a fishing boat anchored near the shore of the Sea of Galilee. So when evening had come, Jesus who took the initiative by issuing the order, “Let us go across/cross over …” . We see in the beginning of this story how, Christ puts us into the storms of life in order that we might grow closer to Him and that we might know Him better.
Poem: As Edward Hooper said:
Jesus, Savior, pilot me
Over life’s tempestuous sea:
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rocks and treach’rous shoal;
Chart and compass come from Thee—
Jesus, Savior, pilot me!
(As recorded in McGee, J. V. (1997). Thru the Bible commentary (electronic ed.) (Mk 4:41). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.)