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4. Jesus Calms the Storm (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41)

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Main Point: God takes away our fear through the faith that He gives us.

Key Verse:

(Jesus) replied, “Your faith is so small! Why are you so afraid?” - Matthew 8:26a

Props: 2 clear plastic cups, one cup 1/3 filled with vegetable oil, one cup 1/2 filled with red juice or Kool- Aid (make sure there is more juice than oil); permanent marker


Say: John the Baptist announced that Jesus was the Messiah that God had promised. Jesus was the was the King of the promised kingdom. When Jesus taught about the kingdom of heaven, He explained that His kingdom was totally different than the world we live in. Many people began to take notice of Jesus.

Jesus went all over Galilee. There He taught in the synagogues. He preached the good news of God’s kingdom. He healed every illness and sickness the people had. - Matthew 4:23

Ask: How many illnesses did Jesus cure? Every illness.

Say: The four first books in the New Testament are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These books tell us about the amazing life of Jesus when He came to the earth. Jesus did so many amazing things that it would have been impossible to write everything down (John 21:25), but these books give us many examples of the miracles that Jesus did. In Matthew chapter 8 alone, we read that Jesus healed a man with a terrible skin disease called leprosy, healed a paralyzed servant just by speaking, healed Peter’s sick mother-in-law, and drove evil spirits out of many people. During all these miracles, Jesus’ disciples were right by His side. They were witnesses of all the amazing things He did. Jesus was careful to explain everything to His disciples (Mark 4:34).

Jesus Calms The Storm (Mark 4:35-40)

Say: Jesus also taught in a way that no one had ever heard before. When Jesus spoke, people knew that He had authority (Matthew 7:29). He was unlike any other teacher. One day Jesus was teaching near the Sea of Galilee. Even though it is called a sea, it is actually a big lake. After teaching a large crowd of people, Jesus instructed His disciples to get into a boat so they could cross the lake (Matthew 8:18). They all needed to get away from the crowds and rest. Several people followed along in their own boats. This story is in Matthew chapter 8, and in Mark chapter 4. Read with me in Mark 4, beginning in verse 35.

When evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.” They left the crowd behind. And they took Him along in a boat, just as He was. There were also other boats with Him.

A wild storm came up. Waves crashed over the boat. It was about to sink. Jesus was in the back, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him up. They said, “Teacher! Don’t you care if we drown?”

He got up and ordered the wind to stop. He said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down. And it was completely calm.

He said to His disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Don’t you have any faith at all yet?” - Mark 4:35-40

Say: When they first got into the boat, Jesus must have been exhausted. Jesus was fully God, but He was also fully human. He had been walking all over, teaching and healing hundreds of people. So when He was finally away from the crowds, He went to the back of the boat, laid His head on a cushion, and fell asleep. Ask: Is anyone here a little afraid of thunder and lightning? Say: Just imagine being on a boat during a storm. It is very scary! Many of the disciples who were in the boat with Jesus were professional fisherman. That means that their job was fishing in a boat. They had been in many storms before, but in this storm, they were frightened. They probably did everything that they knew how to do before waking up Jesus. By the time they went to Jesus, they were terrified (Matthew 8:25).

To the disciples’ amazement, Jesus only had to speak a few words, and the storm became silent. The wind stopped and the water was still. He spoke and the sea obeyed.

Actually, this shouldn’t surprise us. Ask: In the beginning, what did God do to create the earth, the light, the stars and sun? He spoke. Say: Genesis 1:3 tells us that, “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” In the same way, God spoke the earth, the plants, and all the animals into being. This Creator, God, was the same God who was now in the boat with the disciples! (John 1:10) His spoken word was powerful - nothing in nature could ever disobey His command! The storm’s obedience to Jesus’ command gave further proof that Jesus was God! Jesus brought peace where there had been chaos (John 14:27).

The Bible also tells us that Jesus could easily read the hearts and minds of men (Matthew 12:25). Jesus knew just how afraid the disciples were at this moment. But why would they be afraid? The disciples had been witnesses that Jesus could speak over an illness and it would be healed. With just a word, paralyzed legs could walk and blind eyes could see. He could cast out evil spirits with a command. Time and time again, the disciples saw Jesus’ miracles with their own eyes. But even after seeing all these miracles, they still were not sure who Jesus was. They did not have FAITH that He was the Son of God.

Jesus wanted FAITH from His disciples. He wasn’t concerned with who was the smartest, or the strongest, or the best sailor. Faith in Him was all that mattered. Jesus allowed this storm so the disciples could see for themselves that they did not yet have faith in Him.

Application: Just like the disciple’s storm helped them see that they did not have faith, the trials in our lives can help us see how much faith we have. If your first thought in a difficult situation is one of FEAR, then you do not have faith in the constant, solid rock of Jesus.


Say: Clearly, FAITH is the most important part of this story. Let’s talk about faith for a few minutes. The Bible says that without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). What exactly is faith? The dictionary says that faith is, “confidence or trust in a person or thing.” This is a good definition. Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is being sure of things that we can’t see. The faith that Jesus spoke of was: having complete trust in Jesus, knowing for certain that He is God, being sure that He is in control, being positive that He can do all things - including calm a terrible storm.

If the disciples had had faith, they would have been CERTAIN that Jesus was able to save them with just a word. They would not have been afraid of the storm. This is not to say they would not have awoken Jesus to ask for His help. In fact, that’s exactly what they should have done. If they had FAITH, they could go to Jesus with confidence, knowing He controlled all things. But their absolute FEAR showed that they did not trust that Jesus could save them. Luke tells us that the disciples screamed, “We’re going to drown!”

Illustration: There is a scientific law, or truth, that says two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Let’s test this law. I have a cup of oil. I’ll mark the “space” that the oil is taking up by drawing a line on the cup. Teacher: Hold up the cup of oil and draw a line on the cup at the top of the oil. Ask: Do we all agree that the oil is taking up this space in the bottom of the cup? Say: But what if I wanted this juice to occupy the same space in the cup? I’ll pour it in and see if the juice and the oil can be in the same space under the line. Pour the juice into the cup. Oil will be displaced. Ask: What happened? The juice pushed out the oil!

Teacher Note: Romans 1:20 implies that all the things we can see in creation were created so that we could understand the spiritual truths of God. Therefore, we can more clearly understand spiritual laws by examining physical laws.

Just as we see in science that two things cannot fill the same space, FEAR and FAITH cannot occupy the same space. In your heart and mind, there is either fear or faith. Our natural state is fear, because some situations are scary; we don’t know the future; we know that bad things happen; some things are way too big for us to handle. But, when we receive God’s gift of FAITH, it pushes out the fear, just like the juice pushed out the oil (Romans 8:15).

Fear says, “This situation in my life (my parents arguing, my going to a new school, my grandmother being sick) is too much for me to handle.” Faith says, “God is in control. He will handle this for me.” Fear says, “I’m not sure if God is strong enough to handle this.” Faith says, “Nothing is more powerful than God.” Fear says, “I’m not sure if I can trust God.” Faith says, “God only wants what’s best for me.”

Application: There is probably no one in this room who NEVER has a fearful thought. But those thoughts should be quick, and should not stay in your mind for long. Satan loves to bring thoughts of doubt and fear. But faith in God will push out those thoughts. Then, instead of focusing on how big your problem is, you will focus on how much bigger your God is!

Disciples’ Reaction (Matthew 8:27)

Say: So, how did the disciples react to Jesus instantly calming the storm?

They were terrified. They asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!” - Mark 4:41

Matthew says the disciples were amazed. They were struck with wonder because the wind and water obeyed Jesus’ command.

Of course, the winds and waves obeyed Him, just as they did in the days of creation! All things in nature obey Jesus: Jesus had power over all nature (Matthew 21:19, John 2:9), over all sicknesses (Matthew 4:23), over all evil spirits (Mark 1:26), and even over death (John 11:43-44).

The only part of creation that has ever dared to disobey Jesus is mankind. God allows people to have free choice. People have the choice to obey God or disobey God. We can choose to follow or not to follow Jesus.

Application: Unlike the wind and waves, you are free to choose whether or not you will obey and follow Jesus. Will you choose to put your faith in Jesus? If you do, you will live in FAITH, not FEAR. You will know that Jesus is in control of everything that touches your life. You can relax and live in peace, depending on Jesus to calm your storms.


Key Verse:

(Jesus) said to His disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Don’t you have any faith at all yet?” - Mark 4:40


Main Point: God takes away our fear through the faith that He gives us.

Teacher Note: We find parallels in this story and that of Jesus healing the man possessed by demons in Mark 4:35-41. Both the storm and the man were destructive and dangerous. Both were completely out of control; no person could contain either one. But then both met with Jesus, and Jesus brought peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus told those who followed Him, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” (John 14:27) Jesus came to earth to bring peace between God and man by paying for our sin. Romans 5:1 states, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV) And, even after we have peace with God, we still live in a sinful, chaotic world. Our faith in Christ gives us the peace we need to cast out all fear.

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Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

Related Topics: Children, Children's Curriculum, Faith

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