“Peace. Be still.” Have you ever needed to hear someone in authority say those words over your fearful, frantic feelings? Maybe your mother or father calmed you in such a way after a bad dream or during the stress of final exams. Jesus’s disciples heard these words, too, in a most unusual manner.
Try to put yourself into the scene:
You are finishing up a long day listening to Jesus teach the crowds. He’s tired, you’re tired, and everyone needs a break. So you set sail across the Sea of Galilee, retreating to a distant place where you hope to get some rest. Jesus is so weary, in fact, that he falls asleep in the back of the boat and doesn’t awaken when a storm starts rocking and rolling.
The storm gets rough—it’s “a great windstorm” and “waves were breaking into the boat so that the boat was already filling” (v 37). You and your buddies have spent a lot of time on the water (some of you were fisherman) but this event is freaking you out. So you turn to Jesus.
But he’s asleep.
How in the world? You are all about to die, and he’s passed out on the cushioned boat stern. You shake him awake so he doesn’t get swept overboard in his sleep, and because something in you looks to him for reassurance. Then he speaks extraordinary words—not to you, but to the wind and waves: “Peace. Be still.”
The storm ceases. The wind dies, the waves calm, and you look at your comrades in utter terror. The weather may have settled down, but your insides are churning.
“Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
This is the Son of God, creator of the world and commander of the forces of nature. What he wills is done. Mark included this story to highlight Jesus’s power over the world, to affirm his identity as God. While the disciples didn’t quite grasp that truth yet, we, on this side of history, can add this to Jesus’s resumé: Power over the human body? Check. Power to forgive sins? Check. Power over the elements of nature? Check.
With all of this divine power, Christ also can calm your emotional, relational, circumstantial storms. Or he can calm you as you walk through them. However he chooses to work in your life, have confidence in his inimitable ability to accomplish his will. And like the disciples, don’t hesitate to ask for his help.
And that’s the memo.
By Francis Chan