Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Jesus, Don't You Care? (A Reflection on Mark 4:35-41)

On the evening of that same day Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.’ So they left the crowd; the disciples got into the boat in which Jesus was already sitting, and they took him with them. Other boats were there too” (Mark 4:35-36, GNB).

Tired. Late evening. It had been a busy day of ministry. Jesus, a man as he can be, was exhausted from a strenuous day of teaching, so he suggested to his disciples that they cross over “to the other side of the lake” to a quieter side of Galilea for a rest. When I read these verses again (and again) I rest assure that this man Jesus is the Lord that I can approach, know, love, trust, and adore. He is humanity in the truest form. Therefore, I can approach, know and love him deeply. He is also divinity in the truest form. Therefore, I can trust and adore him forevermore. When I read this story further, I’m amazed by him…

Suddenly a strong wind blew up, and the waves begin to spill over into the boat, so that it was about to fill with water. Jesus was in the back of the boat, sleeping with his head on a pillow. The disciples woke him up and said, ‘Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?’” (Mark 4:37-38).

A carpenter was sleeping, but experienced fishermen was panicking. They were so afraid. Surely Peter and John would know how to troubleshoot during storms… they don’t. But wait, isn’t this storm was difference? Perhaps an earthquake-like storms. Nevertheless, a strong wind blew up, waves spill over into the boat, the boat was about to sink, the disciples panic – and Jesus slept on undisturbed! Why? The simplest answer is that he must be very tired. He was not pretending to sleep or pretentious-intentionally want to test his disciples (as many popular interpretation suggests), he displayed his genuine fatigue and weariness. Jesus is so human. Thus, the disciples have to “woke him up” and asked a very faith-less (but valid) question to Jesus: “Don’t you care?” Ah, this is our favourite question when we are facing the storm of our lives. “Don’t you care, Jesus?

For you and me who have known Jesus, who worship him consciously almost every Sunday, who read and study His Book, who love to go to concerts, who lavishly displayed our Christianity brands on social medias, who never experience extreme hunger and poverty, ask this question – “Don’t you care, Jesus?” Definitely we have an issue of faith. “Do you still have no faith?” Jesus asked. At some point in our lives (maybe today?), as Christ followers, we all must learn to say honestly and reverently, “Jesus, my life is in your hands.” That is one of the truths Jesus wanted us to learn from the storm incident. Nothing that happens to you and me, including accidents and death, is a surprised to Jesus. He cares. He knows what life holds for all of us, including its length and challenges. We need not fear the storm. Jesus is in the boat with us. “Other boats were there too” but they don’t have Jesus. Look…

Jesus stood up and commanded the wind, ‘Be quiet!’ and he said to the waves, ‘Be still!’ The wind died down, and there was a great calm. Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Why are you frightened? Do you still have no faith?’ But they were terribly afraid and begin to say to one another. ‘Who is this man? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’” (Mark 4:39-41).

We have read Jesus’ humanity in action (his need for rest and sleep) now we sees his divine power in action. Just like talking to pets – dogs and cats – Jesus simply commanded the storm to “Quiet! Be still!” Fascinating, the storm needed to be rebuked. The wind and waves obeyed him immediately. And then Jesus asked one obvious question “Why are you frightened?” (of course they were afraid Lord) and another question in regard to the issue of their life “Do you still have no faith?” Are you afraid to die? I do. Jesus wasn’t angry with the disciples for their panic in the storm, and God’s isn’t angry with us for shrinking back at the thought of our personal storm in life – but Jesus wants us to grow in our measure of trust in Him. As we learn to be fearless and trust His cares for us, our fear becomes less and less. Are you afraid to die? Don’t be. If you really want to be afraid, afraid of this: the person of Jesus. Before, the disciples were “afraid” in fear of the storm but now it doesn’t matter anymore, they were “afraid” in fear-reverence, high-respect of the Jesus in front of them. They were amazed by his power and learning more about Jesus. The Jesus whom they can trust. The no ordinary Jesus. No wonder they asked, “Who is this man? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Awesome God!

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