Summary: The disciples learned much about themselves and the Lord as they encountered a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Is it possible this storm was experienced for their benefit? I think so, and our storms can be opportunities for growth.
The Master of the Storm
Mark 4: 35-41
Our text today reveals the end of a long day of teaching for our Lord. The evening had come, and night was soon approaching. While the disciples may have been unaware, Jesus had made the decision to journey to the other side of the Sea of Galilee that night. As we will discover in the next chapter, a man stood in desperate need, and Jesus was committed to meeting his need.
Several of the disciples were seasoned fishermen. No doubt they had spent many nights on the sea. The Lord’s desire to journey across the sea likely brought little concern to them. However, before the night was over, they would learn much about themselves and the Lord.
This is a wonderful passage with great relevance for our lives today. While most of us do not travel by boat, we are all on this journey of life. At times our journey is smooth and enjoyable; at other times the journey is quite rough and uncertain. Regardless of the conditions we encounter while traveling, we can trust the Lord to get us safely to the other side!
Let’s examine the variety of emotion revealed in the moments they encountered as we discuss: The Master of the Storm.
I. A Moment of Serenity (35-36) – In the moments immediately following the long day of ministry, the disciples enjoyed a time of serenity with the Lord. Consider:
A. The Command (35) – And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. Late that evening, following their busy day, Jesus gave the command to pass over unto the other side of the Sea of Galilee. The passage reveals that the disciples were obedient to the Lord and followed His command.
This offers a profound teaching moment in this passage. Many often assume storms and trials of life are always the result of disobedience or sin. As we will discover, they encountered a raging storm while in the will of God. They did as they were commanded and still faced a frightening and uncertain encounter. Never assume a storm or trial in your life, or in someone else’s life is always a sign of disobedience or sin!
B. The Companionship (36) – And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. Jesus did not send them away with the expectation to meet Him on the other side. He accompanied them on their journey. I am sure the disciples were excited about an opportunity to spend a few leisurely hours on the water with Jesus, and maybe gain more insight from His teaching. Along with the disciples and Jesus, other small boats accompanied them on the journey. No doubt these desired to be near Jesus, and they too were committed to following Him. (Like the disciples and those who followed, we too should desire to spend quality time with the Lord, apart from the busyness and distractions of life.)
II. A Moment of Ferocity (37-38) – The leisurely and enjoyable trip soon turned into a frightening experience. Although several of the disciples were accustomed to being on the water, they encountered a serious situation as a ferocious storm arose on the water. We can learn that:
A. Storms are Unpredictable (37a) – And there arose a great storm of wind. As they made their way across the sea, a great storm arose and came quickly upon them. No doubt they had no idea a storm would come, and maybe had given little thought to a plan of action. What began as a leisurely trip quickly became a serious situation.
The same is true in our everyday lives. We can be enjoying a calm and relaxing day, and in a moment’s time everything can change. We have no way of knowing what a day will bring forth or what we may be forced to deal with. Storms and trials often come at the most inopportune times, with little advance warning.
B. Storms are Unavoidable (37b) – And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. The storm came upon them while they were in the midst of the sea. It arose without warning and became intense rather quickly. The winds began to blow and the waves began to swell. It wasn’t long until the waves were crashing over the sides of the boat. The vessel was taking on water and quickly filling. The seasoned men knew the boat would not stay afloat much longer if the storm continued to rage. They were too far from shore to make a quick landing and were at the mercy of the sea. There was no way to get out of this horrible situation.