The 2019 Come, Follow Me manual recommends that we find and review the four questions asked in Mark 4:35-41. I had to read those verses four or five times before I recognized the last question. This exercise of likening these scriptures to our own lives is not something I would have ever thought to do on my own. This is just another evidence as to the inspired nature of the Come, Follow Me manual. By the time you finish thinking through these four questions you should be able to answer the questions at the bottom of the article about how the Savior can help us with the storms in our lives.
This article is the study material for day four of week 10 of the lessons from Come, Follow Me. This article was too long to fit in with the regular lesson article, so I split it out as its own article.
There were several boats crossing the lake that day, not just one. In one of them the Master lay on a large cushion, asleep. A storm arose, and the waves got bigger and bigger, until the water began to fill the inside of the ships. All of the sailors saw what was coming if this continued – death by drowning. Most people back then were not swimmers, so it was a pretty sure thing that most if not all would lose their lives shortly if this storm did not abate.
In desperation they turned to Jesus and woke him up asking, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” This question alone contains the assumption that he was either completely unaware of what was happening, or that he might not have cared if the whole lot died that night. This was a plea and question expressed in panic.
Without a word in response, Jesus stood and calmed the sea and stilled the wind. Then he turned to those who were with him in the boat and asked, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?”
Now their fear was of a different sort. Now they feared the man whose words were able to tame the very elements of the earth and make them obey his wishes. They asked among themselves, “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Question 1 – “Master, carest thou not that we perish?”
What are the assumptions of the sailors that would prompt them to ask this question? It seems that they were judging that Jesus was possibly or probably oblivious to their condition or plight. Notice they did not say, ‘Master, carest thou not that you perish?’ They were thinking of themselves at this point. They were terrified and saw no way out of their situation. They were like the man hanging off the ledge of the cliff who only calls on God for help when all other options have failed. The idea that God is with the man on the ledge never enters anyone’s mind.
Another assumption of the sailors might have been that Jesus may have been aware, but didn’t care about their plight. This is a judgment of God’s love, or lack of it when we have a need in our lives. Sometimes it can be hard to understand someone who can remain or appear completely calm when all we see is tragedy and suffering in our future. It is difficult to comprehend at that point that they may have a different perspective of what is going on or what is going to happen. We seem to face this with God all the time.
Can you think of another possible assumption or judgment that might have been the reason behind such a question?
Question 2 – “Why are ye so fearful?”
This question, asked by the master can be taken in a couple of different ways. Was it a rebuke to the sailors for being afraid? Or was it perhaps an inquiry as to what made them frightened? From the Savior’s perspective there was zero fear of death, because he knew he could not die until he, himself chose to do so. He also knew it was completely within his ability to save every soul there from death and disaster. He was completely at ease, and calm.
I think Jesus completely understood why they were so frightened, but he was challenging them to examine within themselves why they chose to be afraid. After all, understanding who they had on board their ship would have helped them realize they had nothing to fear, for it was the very man sleeping on that pillow that made the world on which they stood. Any word from him, as the creator of this world would have required the earth to obey. He could have commanded the water to become dry ground and it would have obeyed.
When we are afraid, it is a choice we make. Putting faith in Christ allows us to banish all fear. For fear drives out faith. This is something the disciples and those sailors had not yet learned.
What misconceptions do you think cause us at times to choose fear over faith in God?
Question 3 – “How is it that ye have no faith?”
I find it interesting that Matthew records that the Lord said they had “little faith,” while Mark records that the Lord said they had “no faith.” I will assume Mark to be more accurate, since they didn’t appear to give Jesus any credit for being able or willing to do anything in this horrible situation. These men were supposed to be his companions, his disciples. If anyone knew who he was, it should have been these very people. They had been following him from place to place and had been eye witnesses to his miracles. They had at least some inkling as to what his capacities were. Yet for all that, they did not think to apply their current knowledge of Jesus to the present condition and assume that Jesus could help them.
Isn’t that interesting that they had seen him heal the blind, deaf, mute, paralyzed, and every other condition, yet in this new condition they couldn’t muster any faith that he would or could show them the same compassion he had showed all those strangers? They were supposed to be his friends. How often do we get into a new situation and have difficulties translating what we already know of God into the new situation? It is as though there is some giant disconnect between everything that has gone on in our lives up to this point with what is happening currently. We fail to apply what we have learned of God’s love and compassion to the current situation and assume that if he has stepped in and showed us his love time and time again in the past that he will do so now as well. Instead, we panic and discount everything he has done in the past, as though he has lost all ability to help us in the present. At least this is the way we often act.
Can you think of a way for us to be more consistent in our efforts or ability to trust the Lord’s love for us in times of trouble?
Does the Lord’s ability to affect change in our lives actually change from situation to situation?
Does the Lord’s love for us ebb and flow, depending on the situation we are in?
How can you teach someone else how to be constant in our faith in Christ?
Question 4 – “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Isn’t it interesting that some of those who may have asked this question were also those who had seen him perform miracles for perfect strangers?
How much effort have we put into trying to comprehend the power and capacity of he whom we call our Redeemer and Master?
Can we truly put faith in someone or something for which we have no comprehension? (John 17:3)
3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
If we really don’t feel we understand Jesus and what he came to do for us, how can we learn more?
The manual has two questions we are asked to answer. After thinking about the verses for today’s study, and answering the questions about the four questions in the verses, how would you answer these final two questions to apply what you have learned in your own life? I recommend you write your answer so you can commit yourself to your answer, for a flippant answer will not feel comfortable when you write it down.
What does each question teach you about facing life’s challenges with faith in Jesus Christ?
How does the Savior bring peace to the storms of your life?
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