Mark 4:22-41: ‘Nearly swamped.’

“22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.’  24 ‘Consider carefully what you hear,’ he continued. ‘With the measure you use, it will be measured to you – and even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.’  26 He also said, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground.27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces corn – first the stalk, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 As soon as the corn is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.’  30 Again he said, ‘What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.’  33 With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.  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!’” NIV UK

‘Don’t Christ-followers enjoy a calendar full of Caribbean cruises? No.

Disciples can expect rough seas and stout winds. ‘’In the world you will (not might, may or could) have tribulation’’ (John 16:33, brackets mine).

Christ-followers contract malaria, bury children, battle addictions, and, as a result, face fears. It’s not the absence of storms that sets us apart. It’s whom we discover in the storm: an unstirred Christ.’’ Max Lucado, in ‘Fearless.’

‘’ ’Teacher!’ They said to him, ‘We’re going down! Don’t you care?’ ‘ (Tom Wright translation).

Tom Wright explains that to this day, the car parks on the western shore of Lake Galilee have signs warning drivers of what happens in high winds. The sea can get rough very quickly, and huge waves can overwhelm cars parked on what looks like a safe beach. ‘A boat on the lake suddenly gets tossed around like a child’s toy.’ Tom Wright: ‘Mark for everyone,’ p.51.  This is a picture most people can identify with. It isn’t necessarily to do with water, but we know the feeling of being ‘’nearly swamped’’ (27); about to go under, if one more wave breaks over us. Desperate times call forth desperate prayers, and desperate prayers may not be overly lengthy (38). In our own weighty problems, or when considering those of others, we may be tempted to wonder if Jesus cares. We will hear the devil’s loud whispers insinuating that He doesn’t; but He surely does. By and by He will show that He does, even if we don’t feel it to be the case just now.

In every storm we encounter there is the potential for a fresh revelation of the Lord (41). Disciples who come through ‘’furious’’ storms are invariably grateful for encountering Jesus, and seeing more of Him, in their crisis.  It isn’t the storms we run into that matter, so much as the Jesus we run into in those storms.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord that you have promised to never leave or forsake us. We recognise this is not fundamentally a matter of feeling but of fact, and it calls forth our faith. Help us to trust you always.