On that day, when evening had come, Jesus said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 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?” – Mark 4:35-41
Maybe you’ve done this. You see your child edging toward a minor danger. Nothing life-threatening. Maybe just mildly frightening. You don’t want your child to suffer emotional or physical trauma. But allowing him to learn a lesson about how the sprinkler system works (he’ll get wet if he walks into it’s path) is OK. If she learns that coffee tastes bitter that might be a good thing.
And maybe he will run to you in tears wishing you had warned him. She might look at you with startled eyes near tears, seeming to say, “Why didn’t you stop me?” You let them learn some things in the school of hard knocks. Other things you hope they’ll learn in the lessons from others’ experience.
Is this what is happening in this event on the Sea of Galilee? Did Jesus let the disciples sail into a storm knowing they would not drown, but that they would need his help? Did he deliberately stay asleep in the boat while the winds and waves rage so that they would learn just how powerful he was?
It’s difficult to assign motives clearly in these cases. There are many different possibilities. But we do know this: Jesus was committed to his mission to seek and save the lost. He was embodying the presence of God’s rule and reign during his time on earth. He was bringing down the high and mighty and exalting those who are humble and lowly in spirit.
But the disciples ask a telling question: “Don’t you care if we drown?” It’s actually quite an indictment of Jesus. They are assuming, by their question, that Jesus was aware of their plight, and that he didn’t care to help. It’s not clear whether or not both are untrue. He may have been so at peace with his Father, and so aware that they would reach the other side, that he was unaware of the storm. He is true man, afterall. And he was tired.
But he definitely cared about their predicament. He was not unmoved about their fear or the danger they faced. And he shows that he is more than concerned. He has the whole situation well in control. For Jesus is not only true man (asleep in the boat), but he is also true God.
And here it shows. He commands the wind and waves and they obey. He says, “Peace” and there is peace. No one else can do this. And he cares.