That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” –Mark 4:35-41
Next time that there’s a thunderstorm, try to do this: go outside in the middle of the rain and lightning, look up at the clouds, and say, “Storm! Stop it!” See if it works.
It probably won’t. Because the storm doesn’t care what you say. It’s a lot bigger and stronger than you, so you can stand there and yell and holler and stamp your foot, and it will just keep thundering.
That’s why this story in Mark 4 is so impressive. Jesus had been snoozing in the boat during their little pleasure cruise, until an enormous storm blew up out of nowhere. The disciples, most of whom had been fishermen their whole lives, were used to storms, but they had never seen a storm like this. Within a few minutes, the waves were pouring into their little fishing boat, and they were starting to sink. The disciples began panicking. If something didn’t happen soon, they were going to die.
So they woke Jesus up. He stood up, stretched, yawned, glanced up at the raging storm, and said, “Quiet!” And just like that, the clouds scurried away apologetically, the wind vanished, and the waves disappeared.
Now, if you were one of the disciples, what do you think your reaction would have been? Would you have jumped up and down for joy? Given Jesus a big hug and thanked him for saving your life? High-fived all your buddies in the boat? Asked Jesus how he did that neat trick?
Surprisingly, the disciples didn’t do any of those things. In fact, they didn’t seem very happy at all. During the storm, they had understandably been afraid. But now that the sun was shining, Mark 4 says, “they were terrified.” Somehow, they were more afraid now than when the boat was filling with water.
Why? Mark 4:41 gives us the answer: “They were terrified, and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’” Something scarier than the storm was in the boat with them. They knew their Old Testaments; they knew that Psalm 89 says, “Who is like you, LORD God Almighty? You, LORD, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them.” They realized that this was no mere man in the boat; this was the Lord God Almighty himself. And that’s pretty scary to be standing in a boat with the God of the universe.