“And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”” (Mark 4:39–40, ESV)
When I read about the disciples waking up! Jesus in the middle of a life-threatening wind squall, I wonder what they expected him to do. They had seen him heal a paralytic, cast out an unclean spirit from a man, and heal many people. A storm in the middle of the night wasn’t something they had experienced with him, nor was being in a life-threatening situation. Did they expect him to react like they had? Did they think he would jump up, take one glance at the wind and waves and say, “Boys, we are in deep, deep trouble. Lets all start bailing. Row for the nearest shore and pray that we make it in time!”
Certainly they did not expect him to stand up and rebuke the wind and sea. They had not seen Jesus order nature around as if he were its owner and expected it to obey him, and yet this is precisely what Jesus did. “Peace!” he says, “Be still.” This is what you say to a dog that is barking excessively. This is what you tell your kids when you’ve sent them to bed and you hear them fooling around in their room. Jesus acts as if he has authority over the wind and waves. Preposterous. Crazy. Deluded.
And…the wind and waves obey. One grasps for adequate words to describe this incident. It’s so out of our experience and so unexpected and so unlikely, and yet, the wind and waves obey him as if he really did have authority over them and they must obey him. I love how The Message paraphrases this verse:
“Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass.” (Mark 4:39, The Message)
Sit back, dear reader, and ponder this for a minute: the wind and waves obeyed Jesus. Obeyed. He rebuked, and they responded, “the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
One would think that Jesus would turn to the disciples and say something like, “See boys, you really had nothing to fear,” or, “pretty impressive, am I right?” Instead, he turns to the disciples and treats them exactly as he treated the forces of nature, he rebukes them. “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” [“Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?” – The Message]
The obvious implication is that in the middle of a life-threatening situation, they should not have been afraid, and they should have had faith in him.
It’s easy to throw stones at the ham-headed disciples who have seen all of Jesus’ power and all of his works and words, yet are still acting like frightened children when they face a life and death situation, until we take a look at our own lives and how often we ourselves are fearful. Here is one example: Trump vs. Clinton. Admit it, dear reader, you’ve been worrying about the outcome of that particular election, haven’t you. Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton are as much under the authority of the Son of Man as the wind and waves are, and will obey him in the end, as quickly as the wind and waves did.
It humbles us that we are often as fearful and worried as the disciples, especially when we have more information than even they did. Here’s the thing, the wind and the waves still obey him today, just as they did 2000 years ago [as will Trump and Clinton].
If you need this truth in song, here it is: