Mark 4:31-41 | Matthew 8:23-27 | Luke 8:22-25

“Don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

That is what the disciples said to Jesus as they woke him from a deep sleep in the back of their battered boat.

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

(Mark 4:39-40 NLT)

This can be a pretty confusing passage. First, why and how was Jesus sleeping through a storm so violent that it threatened to sink his boat? Second, why does he dog his disciples for being afraid–who wouldn’t be?

And sadly, we’re not offering an answer to those questions.

Maybe Jesus was able to sleep so soundly because he knew the future and that it didn’t include anybody drowning in this storm. Or maybe because he knew he was powerful enough to keep the boat from sinking. Or maybe he was just tired from teaching and performing miracles, and not in the mood to worry about storms.

As for mentioning his disciples’ lack of faith–maybe he wasn’t dogging them. Maybe he asked those questions in the super gentle way that only Jesus could have. Who knows…

But notice this: the storm kept raging until the disciples went to Jesus and asked for his help. Certainly some time passed between the moment a disciple might have said, “Hey, Jesus is in the boat. How bad can this get?” and the moment they decided to actually call on him for help.

So follow Miriam’s advice and remember that with Jesus in your boat, no storm will ever take you under. On the other hand, you might be well-served to go to him and plead for his help.

The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

(Mark 4:41 NLT)

Questions for Group Discussion

  • Have you ever felt like Jesus was asleep in your boat? Have you had tough times that looked they would sink you, and the fact that you were a follower of Jesus did not seem to matter?
  • Do you think that Jesus could have calmed the storm sooner if the disciples would have gone to him sooner?
  • Do you think Jesus used this experience to show his power to his disciples? Was he ‘showing off?’ How might it have helped his disciples to see this display of his power?
  • How can you remind yourself during tough times that you can trust Jesus?

Calming the Storm: Application

If this story sounds familiar…

It could be because of its similarities to the beginning of story of Jonah. God uses similar events to give us an idea of what will happen in the future.

Compare this story of Jesus calming the storm by reading the following two passages and writing down all the similarities you find.

  • Mark 4:31-41
  • Jonah 1:1-10