Facing Faith-Building Events: Mark 4:35-41

Focus Passage: Mark 4:35-41 (GW)

35 That evening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side.”

36 Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus along in a boat just as he was. Other boats were with him.

37 A violent windstorm came up. The waves were breaking into the boat so that it was quickly filling up. 38 But he was sleeping on a cushion in the back of the boat.

So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to die?”

39 Then he got up, ordered the wind to stop, and said to the sea, “Be still, absolutely still!” The wind stopped blowing, and the sea became very calm.

40 He asked them, “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith yet?”

41 They were overcome with fear and asked each other, “Who is this man? Even the wind and the sea obey him!”

Read Mark 4:35-41 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

As Jesus was inviting people to follow Him, and collecting disciples, it always surprises me at the people He chose. In those He chose, there was someone from about every angle of culture and background, and most all of them were common/average people. This makes the disciples very relatable, but it also probably contributes to perhaps a little irritation on Jesus’ part.

In the event our passage focuses in on, Jesus asked His disciples a pretty revealing question, and it likely challenged the disciples on where they were at in their relationship with God. Immediately after calming the storm, Jesus turns to the disciples and asks, “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith yet?” (v. 40)

This question challenged the disciples to their core, because at this point in their time with Jesus, they had seen plenty of examples of miraculous healing, and had heard Jesus talking about how important faith is. While it was easy as a disciple to sit on the sidelines and take notes while Jesus talked and healed others, it was much more challenging when Jesus instructed them to head straight into a faith-testing encounter – even if these disciples were not aware of what was coming.

And we will face this same question in our own lives. The closer we follow Jesus, the more faith building events come our way, and if we respond like the disciples, focusing in on asking Jesus if God cares that they are about to die, God will show us that this is not having faith in Him and trusting in His protection.

If the disciples had woken Jesus up by saying, “Save us”, we could see faith in these disciples actions, but in the three gospels that include this event, the focus is on the disciples realizing they are about to die. Matthew’s version of this event (Matthew 8:23-27) comes the closest to showing faith, and Jesus response indicates there was “little faith”, but both Mark and Luke share that the disciples’ response was not demonstrating faith in Jesus, but instead their response displayed doubt of God’s love.

When we follow Jesus and experience faith building events, the way we must respond is simply leaning into God and trusting Him. By responding this way, we allow God to step in and move, and our trust in Him is able to grow.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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