Jesus Calms the Storm

There are many different ways that the Gospel of Mark goes about proclaiming the deity of Jesus Christ. Among the things that we have seen so far are the following:

  1. The title “Son of God”
  2. The testimony of the Father at his baptism
  3. The authority of his teaching
  4. His authority over demons
  5. His ability to heal
  6. His forgiving of sins
  7. His authority over the Sabbath
  8. His use of parables to teach about his deity
  9. The testimony of the Holy Spirit

Despite all of these different proofs of Jesus as God, the most dramatic demonstration yet appears in Mark 4:35-41.

Jesus Calms the Storm
35 On that day, when evening had come, he 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 4:25-41

Why is this miracle different?

To be sure, there were people in Jesus’ day who seemed to have extraordinary abilities to teach, heal, and cast out demons.

When Jesus calms the storm, it shows his disciples that he is the One who has absolute authority over nature. This was an unquestionable calming of a deadly storm on the Sea of Galilee. No mere miracle worker could have coerced mighty natural forces to do his bidding the way that Jesus commanded water and waves to obey him.

On this side of the events of the cross and the resurrection, we should have no misgivings about the idea at stake. We have a choice to either believe Jesus as the divine son of God or to not believe him.

But the disciples’ reaction to Jesus in the aftermath of the storm is quite striking. Rather than recognizing immediately that Jesus has both the power and the will to be their savior, their response demonstrates that they do not yet have faith. The disciples are both confused and terrified by the raw display of Jesus’ power.

Given the truth of Jesus’ deity as it has already been presented, we must pay attention to the ways that we ourselves react to Jesus and his power.

Discussion Questions

  • Why do you think the disciples were afraid when Jesus was in the boat with them? (v. 38)
  • Do you think that the disciples had any expectation that Jesus would perform a miracle? Or do you think they just wanted his help or comfort in navigating the storm? (v. 38)
  • What allowed Jesus to issue a rebuke to the sea and the wind and have them listen (v. 39)?
  • Do you think the disciples were able to associate Jesus’ authority with his role as the creator?
  • How do we often underestimate or misunderstand Jesus’ power over nature and the created order?
  • Would you have had more or less faith than the disciples in this situation?
  • What in your life might be classified as a “storm?”
  • Does Jesus always calm the storm?
  • What is the biggest way you would like to see Jesus demonstrate his power today?
  • How can you cultivate both faith and a healthy appreciation for the power that Jesus has over circumstances?
Jonathan Pugh
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