When Jesus calmed the dangerous storm on the Sea of Galilee, that He not only was protecting His disciples but also explaining salvation to us? Stick around and we’ll talk about it, here on five minutes of truth.
Most of us are probably familiar with one of the most famous of all of Jesus’ miracles…the calming of a storm that was threatening to destroy the boat He and the disciples were sailing in. Most of us, however, may not be as familiar with the picture He was trying to paint in the midst of that event. Let’s start from the beginning of the story. And though this event is recorded in all of the Synoptic Gospels, it is Mark’s version that we need to focus on.
The story begins simply enough. Jesus and His disciples are on the coast of the Sea of Galilee when Jesus states: “Let us cross over to the other side”. The clear idea here is that Jesus is desiring for them to enter the boat and cross to the opposite side of the Sea in order to continue His ministry. The disciples, of course, agree and they begin the voyage.
During the crossing, a ferocious storm arose which obviously terrified the disciples. Now, the interesting thing about this is…that many of the disciples had been fishermen who had worked these waters for years. They knew the weather patterns. So, if they were afraid, it must have been for good reason. In fact, this is confirmed with their reaction and their statement to Jesus.
It is interesting to note, however, Jesus’ reaction to the storm. In fact, we do not know Jesus’ immediate reaction to the storm because according to Mark’s Gospel, the disciples found Jesus, “in the stern, asleep on a pillow”. In the midst of this horrendous storm, Jesus was sleeping. His disciples…well they weren’t as calm. In fact, they woke Jesus up and exclaimed: “Teacher, You do not care that we are perishing”?
Notice the verbiage. They did not say it looked like they might perish. They did not say that if things don’t get better we may perish. They said, do you not care that we are perishing. These fishermen…who knew boats…knew that body of water…and knew what it looked like and felt like to have a boat get swamped, were certain they were in the process of dying.
They knew immediately that there was no way that they would be able to reach the other side if something didn’t happen to change their circumstances. Then Jesus said two things. One always made complete sense to me…while the other one took me while to completely grasp. First, He cried out: “Peace, be still”. And the Scripture tells us that immediately the storm abated and disaster was avoided.
He then turned to the Disciples and said: “Why are you so fearful. How is it that you have no faith”? I always understood the miracle, but struggled for years about Jesus chastising the disciples. I mean, is it a lack of faith for us to be afraid in fearful, life-threatening situations? I guarantee that I would have been afraid then too. It always seemed to me that He was being a little hard on them. Until it dawned on me.
He was not citing their fear itself as a lack of faith as much as it was their hesitation to believe what He had said in the first place. Do you remember what Jesus said at the very beginning of the story? He said: “Let us cross over to the other side”. He had given them all of the information they would need to trust Him. He never said there would NOT be any storms. He never promised them nothing but a smooth ride. He never stated that serious, even life threatening issues would not arise. He simply promised them from the very beginning that He would get them to the other side.
After reading that passage for many years and missing what God was trying to tell me about salvation, I finally saw the grace associated with this passage as the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and my heart. And this became less about a trip across a lake, and much more about how God saves us.
So many people are under the misconception that once we come to faith it is smooth sailing from that time on. But that is not the case…and it is not His promise. Do you know what the promise is when we come to faith in Christ? That He will get us to the other side. That’s it…that He will get us to the other side.
He never promises that we will not have struggles. He never promises us a pain-free journey. He never guarantees us that we won’t encounter any storms. In fact, He promises us the exact opposite. But He also promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us…and that He is with always unto the ends of the earth. And that He will get us to the other side. How cool is that?
On behalf of myself, Robert Houghton and all of us at Growth Project…keep reading God’s Word.
Dr. Purvis started Growth Project with Robert Houghton after spending 20 years on active duty as a Chaplain in the United States Navy. After many moves and multiple deployments, he settled in Winter Haven, Florida to do God’s will. A glutton for educational punishment Danny has a BA in English from Carson-Newman College, an MDiv from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; a ThM from Princeton Theological Seminary; and a PhD in Organizational Leadership from Regent University. He has been married to his wife Kimberly (whom he met when they were 6 years old) for nearly 30 years and they have four wonderful children.