On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” -Mark 4:35-41
In the middle of a fierce storm, the disciples, filled with fear, decided that Jesus did not care about them. Imagine the disciples fighting with all their might, bailing water out of the boat, fighting to keep it pointed in the right direction, stowing loose gear. All the while, Jesus was calmly sleeping on a cushion in the stern.
This little story teaches several things. First, it reminds us that Jesus was truly human. This is something we know, but we also easily forget it in its full reality. We confess that Jesus was truly human, just as he was truly God. As a true man, Jesus experienced all the things that are common to man. He got hungry, thirsty, sad, happy, and tired. That’s important because that also means that he really felt and suffered all that he went through in his arrest, trial, crucifixion, and death. Sometimes we tend to think that Jesus just sort of cruised through all that abuse because he was Divine. Because he was true God, he maybe felt a little of what was done to him, but he didn’t really suffer as a mere human would suffer. That’s wrong thinking. That Jesus was fully human means that he felt everything just as we might feel it, except without sin.
Second, Jesus was not afraid. The disciples were terrified, but Jesus was sound asleep. The reason was that Jesus trusted his father completely. The Father had revealed that Jesus would die on a cross outside of Jerusalem, not in a boat in the middle of the lake. Nor did the disciples need to fear. Asleep in the back of the boat was the man who could make the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the sick well. He could even raise the dead. So even if the disciples were all tossed into the raging sea, Jesus would easily lift them up. Should any drown in the sea, Jesus would breathe new life into them. Fear comes from lack of faith. We all suffer from it. We all pray about it and work on it.
Third, the story teaches that Jesus really did care about what was happening. Though asleep, he was not unaware. In a second he awakened, stood up, and commanded the winds and waves to cease. It is a reminder of how Jesus exercises his power. He speaks. He commands. So he commands that you have daily bread, and you do. He commands that you get up in the morning, and you do. He commands that you take another breath, and you do. He commands that you live another day, and you do.
Jesus also commands that your sins are forgiven, so they are. He commands that you stand justified before God, and so you stand. He commands that you have eternal life, so you have. He commands the devil and evil of all kinds to leave you alone, and so you are protected. He commands that he is with you even to the end of the age, so he will be.
Jesus knows what fear is because he is truly human. Jesus destroyed fear because he destroyed sin, death, the devil, and the grave. Do not be afraid. Jesus cares about you. Jesus is in the back of your boat.