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15. Stilling the Storm

Every time they get in a boat it is test time. Every time they are out in a boat with Jesus and He performs a miracle, it is a miracle that deals with discipleship. It is not a miracle for the multitudes.


A. Passage Selected: Mark 4:35-41

Also in Matt 8:18-27 and Luke 8:22-25

B. Progression Stated: Geographical and Chronological

C. Presentation Summarized:

1. Context

In the Gospels of Mark and Luke, Jesus has spent a full day teaching and preaching the parables. In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus has just healed Peter’s mother-in-law and many others and then there is a break and Matthew records that a crowd had gathered. All three gospels record the healing of the demoniac after this, so these are parallel accounts of the same miracle. What we can gather from the context is that Jesus has been very busy and was in great demand. He was worn out.

2. Content
a. On the shore before the storm (35-36)

Notice Jesus says, “Let us go over to the other side.” I think that statement is important. His intent is to go to the other side, not to go to the middle of the lake and drown.

It says they took Him “Just as He was.” “Just as he was” probably means he was exhausted. After all, He fell asleep in the boat. He needed to rest after a long day of preaching. Here we see His humanity emphasized.

In the midst of his exhaustion, Jesus wants to teach the disciples a lesson.

b. In the boat during the storm (37-39)

(1) Storming

If you take a bucket of water and blow across the top of it, it doesn’t disturb the water too much. If you take a plate of water and blow across the top of it, it disturbs the whole thing. Sea of Galilee is very shallow and very large. Just a little wind will make 6 foot waves. Imagine at night in a storm there would be 10 to 12 foot waves at least. ISBE vol. 2, p. 1166. It is a very bad storm when professional sailors are afraid and think they are going down.

(2) Sleeping

A good picture of the theanthropic man. Theanthropic means god-man. His humanity is seen in his sleeping after an exhausting day. But whenever we see a clear picture of His humanity, His deity is not far behind and that is what we see next.

(3) Saving

He could sleep through the storm, but not through their cries. That is comforting to know.

Matthew’s account tells me that He rebuked them before he rebuked the wind. I would rather have the theology lesson after the trial is over, but I’m convinced that we learn more during the trial than after. He rebuked them for their absence of faith. This is not saying they are not believers. They just aren’t walking by faith or trusting in him for that situation.

c. In the boat after the storm (40-41)

In Mark’s account he rebukes them after the miracle.


  • We see his humanity, deity, compassion, and power. I think this is a good illustration of the truth of Hebrews 4:15 which says, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” And when one of the disciples asks Jesus, “Do you not care that we are perishing?” It makes me wonder if this is perhaps Peter asking the question (after all, he was the more bold and vocal) and if this is perhaps what he’s thinking about when he writes 1 Peter 5:7 which says, “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”
  • They are terrified and amazed at Jesus’ power. When they say, “What kind of man is this? I think this fits with the major outline of Mark in which only the readers and the demons really know who Jesus is. It is not until Mark 8:29 that the disciples make the statement, “Thou art the Christ.” So, although they know Jesus is special, that He is a great prophet, that He may be the Messiah, they don’t fully understand who He is.
  • The purpose of the miracle was to reveal the true nature of Jesus Christ. He is both God and man. They thought more of his humanity than of his deity in this circumstance. They did come to him for help, they woke him up, so what is the problem. What was their lack of faith? They were afraid. What is there to fear? If God wants you to die, should you be afraid? God will give you the grace to die. Fear is the result of a lack of faith.


  • As a servant of the lord I’m not exempt from the storms of life.
  • Experiencing the trials is not an indication of God’s discipline or disfavor.
  • God has power even over nature and my circumstances.
  • Fear is the result of a lack of faith. It is a failure to believe that God is good and God is in control. Although we all believe that Jesus is God, do we live every day like we really believe that He is really in control of every situation? Sometimes we say, “God was so gracious” when something good happens like He’s not gracious all the time. Sometimes we say something like, “Where was God when I needed Him?” When if we were taking a theology exam in the classroom, we know that God is omnipresent. That is a human description of our experience, not a statement of good theology.
  • The purpose of trials is the perfection of faith. James 1:4
  • The result of trials should be a greater understanding of who God is.

    What would the disciples have done if they had had faith? If they had believed that their Lord was in control and that He cared for them? They would not have awakened the Lord (it was obvious that he needed rest). They would have known that the boat would not sink with the Lord in it. And they would have known that the storm was not going to last forever. They would have been able to ride out the storm and waited.

    When we face difficulties, we need to have faith in God’s goodness and God’s control. The storms He sends our way are to build our faith. The storms He sends our way will not last forever. That is not to say they may not last the rest of our natural lives, but one day, all the storms will be over.

  • Related Topics: Miracles

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