Something Scarier Than the Storm

The Presence of Divine Power

We’re tempted to impose our situations—our “storms of life”—onto the story of Jesus and his disciples. Jesus will “calm our storms,” or at least, that’s what we’ve been taught. The problem is that Mark 4:35-41 isn’t primarily about our storms. So what is it all about?

As the passage unfolds, we discover that Jesus’s disciples find themselves in a desperate situation! While they are crossing over the Sea of Galilee in a boat with Jesus, “a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat” (Mark 4:37). At least three of these men are fishermen, familiar with this sea. They have seen their share of storms! This storm, though, is one that they know they can’t survive. They wake Jesus, who is sleeping in the storm, with these desperate words: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38). Jesus calmly steps up, speaks, and the storm is immediately calm. This is a stunning miracle. So, what is this story teaching?

God's Great Story

Jon Nielson

God’s Great Story is a one-year devotional aimed to help teens establish daily Scripture-reading habits as they explore God’s grand story of redemption, from Genesis to Revelation.

There’s one big indication that this story isn’t necessarily about Jesus calming all the various storms of our lives, or taking away all our fears, problems, and troubles. Look closely again at Mark 4:40–41. What happens to the disciples after Jesus takes away the storm that was threatening their very lives? They are more afraid of Jesus than they were of the storm! In fact, Mark never even says that the disciples were scared by the storm (although they probably were, at least to some extent). What freaks them out is the power and authority of the man who’s in the boat with them. Being in the presence of that kind of divine power is far more terrifying to the disciples than any wind, rain, thunder, or lightning. Jesus’s miracle in the boat didn’t solve the disciples’ life problems; it gave them a bigger problem. Now they had to figure out what to do with Jesus. And Jesus was scarier to them even than the prospect of death!

He’s the Son of God, the ruler of all creation, the one with infinite authority, power, and control.

So, what is Mark’s main point in telling us this story? It’s all about Jesus’s identity. Mark wants us to ask—along with Jesus’s disciples—“Who is thi guy?” They don’t get it at this point in Mark’s Gospel. But we need to get it. He’s the Son of God, the ruler of all creation, the one with infinite authority, power, and control.

Ask God to help you see clearly who Jesus Christ is. Pray that he would help you answer the disciples’ question (“Who then is this . . . ?” Mark 4:41) with confidence, joy, and faith, declaring: “He is the Son of God—my Savior!”

This article is adapted from God’s Great Story: A Daily Devotional for Teens by Jon Nielson.

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