Fear and Love (Mark 4:39-41)

Mark 4:39-41 (ESV)


39 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. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”


            It seems very familiar to look in on the scene were Jesus and his disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee. A storm arose, and the big, strong, career fishermen were terrified. But Jesus was asleep. So, the disciples cry out to Jesus, and he calms the storm.


            What interests me today is what happens next. The disciples are again terrified. They are no longer terrified by the storm outside the boat, but by the Savior with them in the boat. They just saw Jesus speak to a storm, and the storm obeyed. That proves that Jesus is a very different kind of person than perhaps they had considered him to be.


            What might they have noticed about Jesus? Perhaps they remembered the fact that there is one who spoke, and the world came into being. Perhaps they remembered that there is one who, when the world was covered in water, spoke, and the seas pulled back from the land. Perhaps they remembered that there is one who brought a wind to part the Red Sea, and then who brought that sea crashing down over the Egyptian army. Perhaps they remembered that only God can control the wind and the waves.


            In Luke’s gospel, Peter was terrified the first time he had a glimpse of the holiness and power of Jesus. In chapter 5, he ask Jesus to go away from him, because Peter knew himself to be a sinful man. Why? Because it is terrifying to be around somebody who is that great, that perfect, that holy. Jesus is good, truly good, in every way. Jesus has never failed. He has power that is beyond anything we can imagine. And to realize this for the first time, especially when he is with you in a boat, is terrifying.


            What we might want to take from this is something simple. Jesus is greater than we could ever imagine. That greatness is frightening, because we are sinful. This should lead us to awe and to worship. Then, when we add in the fact that he has loved us and invited us into his family, to be under his care and forgiveness, that should lead us to great love and great joy.