Mark 4:35-41

Pastor Nathan Buch

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd
behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall
came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 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?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was
completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”


We all want to be safe. We make sure to lock the doors of our house at night and turn on the alarm. We
make sure that when we drive we are doing it safely. We make sure our homes are safe by adding smoke
alarms and fire extinguishers. During the Pandemic, most people made sure to do at least some things a bit
differently that they might stay little safer. But how safe are we?
Even with locks and alarms, people break in. Even when we do everything right on the road there are
accidents caused by us or others. Even though we make our homes safe, there are still fires and storms and
others things that cause damage. Even if you took all the Pandemic precautions, you could still catch COVID.
We try to think that we are safe by all the things that we do to safeguard ourselves in our lives, but in the
end there are a lot of bad things that go on anyway. This thought might send many people into safety
overdrive, working even harder to be safe, but not us. As we look at the Word of God before us today, we will
see that we are safe. Not because we make ourselves safe, but because we have a God and Savior who keeps us
Nobody knows exactly why they have trouble and trial in life. That is because, in His Word, God does
not tell us the exact reasons why he allows things like trouble and trial, illness and disease into our life. He does
not say, I have allowed your life to be touched by pain and disease so that you will be a better father and take
time with your family. He doesn’t say that he allowed the accident so that we could see that death is closer than
we imagined and we will come back to him.
While he does not give us the exact reason why we are struggling with the issues we have in our life, he
does given us two things to hold onto and to remember: One, all things, even terrible awful trouble and
problem, pain and disease, will work out for our good. Two, trust in him that he is leading us to what is perfect
for us.
Our text this morning is one of two Bible lessons that include the disciples, the Sea of Galilee and a
large storm.
There is something about the geography of the Sea of Galilee that makes it notorious for storms that
would come up quickly and descend on vessels before they had enough time to make it to shore. The disciples
were no weekend anglers, just borrowing their brother’s boat for some fun. There were some seasoned
fishermen in this group of men who knew how to handle themselves and a boat in a storm.
Yet, this storm was so violent that the waves were breaking over the side of their boat, threatening to
capsize the boat. I am sure that the disciples were doing all they could to keep the boat afloat. Some were
taking charge of the rudder and sails making sure that the boat sailed into the waves. Others were doing their
best to bail the water that came over the sides. There were probably others who were just too scared to do
anything at all and did little to nothing because they were too scared.
Think about all those things that the disciples might have tried to do before going and waking Jesus.
They used a lot of energy and emotion, out of fear, trying to keep themselves alive. It’s interesting to think
about those things the disciples did because they are the same things that we do when we have troubles or
problems that come into our life.
Think about the last big problem that came into your life: severe pain, a necessary surgery, family strife
or struggle, a lost job, the pandemic. What did you do?
Maybe some of us tried to take charge and steer ourselves, or the family, through the problem that we
had. We the rock that everyone held onto, we made sure that everything got done when it needed to get done.
We steered that boat right into the waves of trouble and trial thinking that if we were just strong enough, kept it
together for everyone, that all would be fine.
Some of us might have felt like we were barely keeping up with the trouble as it came pouring into our
lives. We got weighed down by the pressure and the stress. While we managed to make it through another
doctor’s appointment, another unhappy text, another news story that made us nervous, there was always more
trouble that seemed to come. Like the disciples bailing, trying to keep up with the water coming into the boat,
we were just trying to deal with the trouble and problems that seem to keep pouring into our life, but we never
seem to be making any headway.
Maybe we faced our problem with fear and anxiety. Like the disciples, we felt like we didn’t feel
equipped to handle something like this. I don’t know anything about cancer, I am not a back doctor, who do I
believe with COVID? Our fear overwhelmed us and we did little to nothing. We did not schedule the
appointment because we don’t want to know what the tests have shown. We don’t want to talk to others that
have been mean and cruel to us. COVID may have left us without hope.
Even when the disciples do go to Jesus, they still are not coming to him in the right way. You can hear
the frustration in the voices of the disciples when they go to wake Jesus, “Teacher, don’t you care if we
drown?” I don’t believe the disciples were looking to Jesus for a miracle in this moment. This was early in
Jesus ministry and the disciples were still learning about the amazing things Jesus could do. It sounds more like
an accusation of frustration. It was Jesus who had suggested that they take this boat trip, it was his fault they
were in trouble and now, while they are doing all they can to stay alive, he is doing nothing. It doesn’t even
seem like he cares if they live.
Isn’t that the same thing that we do when we are facing our trouble and trial, our pain and illness and we
don’t think that God is doing enough? Don’t we approach God with frustration? God, don’t you care whether I
live or die? God, why don’t you do something for me? God don’t you care about me at all?
What was Jesus’ reply to all of this? Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?
It almost seems like Jesus is being cruel. Wasn’t there something to be afraid of here? Weren’t they in
danger of sinking and dying? Aren’t our trouble and trials something to be afraid of? Jesus answer is, “No. I
have everything under control. You are safe with me.”
The reason that Jesus could sleep when all the others were racing around is because he trusted in God to
keep all of them safe. He trusted that the outcome of their trip would be what God wanted, he knew that in life
or in death God’s will would be done. There was nothing to be afraid of. They were as safe in the boat as
anywhere else because God was with them.
That was true for the disciples in the boat and it is also true for us. As we struggle in the middle of the
wind and waves of trouble and trial, pain and suffering in our life, God continues to be with you, holding you in
his hands to keep you safe.
Safety does not mean that we will never struggle with earthly problems, strife or danger. The devil
wants us to struggle with all of these things to shake our faith. He wants there to be harsh and angry words,
violence, and struggle even within families. We will not escape those effects of sin in us and in others it will
always be there.
Safety does not mean that we will never have illnesses or disease. We live in a world infected by sin.
In this world, we will have pain and suffering because our bodies are marred by sin and these things are
products of sin. We cannot escape that by taking medicine, or quarantining, or anything else. God has already
told us that, unless we are alive when he comes again, that we will die because of sin. We should not be afraid
even of death because, through Jesus, we are safe with God even when we face death.
Jesus showed the disciples they were safe with him and with faith in him. He simply told the wind and
the waves, “Quiet! Be Still!” and the wind died and the seas calmed. What an amazing miracle. There was
no chanting or mystical sign, this was merely the God who created the universe showing his power over his
creation with 3 words. When they saw this the disciples were amazed at the power and authority that Jesus had.
Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him?
What do we have to fear when the creator of the universe is watching over us? What do we have to fear
when he promises to use that power to turn even the things that we think are bad into what is good for us and
our faith? What do we have to fear when our Savior has already died on the cross, won heaven for us and
written our name in the book of heaven?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us not be afraid, we are safe in the hands of our God. When we have
troubles and trials, pain and disease, let’s always see God’s hand of mercy pointing us to trust in him and let us
always have the faith which clings to him for the promises that are not just here on earth, but forever in heaven.