“Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.” (Psalm 89:9)
In the Adventures of Robin Hood, King Richard returns to England in disguise. No one recognizes him. Richard is able to move silently among his people and see, for himself, the evil that Prince John has brought upon his country while he has been away on the Crusades. (This is not an approval of the Crusades. Just referencing the story here. )
That concept of the King walking invisibly among his people has been a common plot in movies and literature. It is a fascinating theme.
In the scriptures, there is a passage that appears in most, if not all, of the Gospel records. (Mark 4:35-41) It is about how Christ entered into a small ship and fell asleep as it was crossing the Sea of Galilee. While He was sleeping, a great wind came upon the sea. The water crashed in until it filled the boat. The disciples woke Jesus and scolded Him for His lack of concern for their danger. He got up and rebuked the wind and the sea saying, “Peace, be still.”
Immediately, there was a great calm.
The disciples marveled at this. Who was this man that even the wind and the waves obeyed him? Jesus said, “Why are ye so fearful. how is it that ye have no faith?”
The End of Romanticism
This is an amazing passage to me. I can’t get enough of it. Partly because I have a healthy respect for the ocean. I love to go to the Oregon and Washington coast and watch the waves. And if I am really fortunate, catch a storm with massive pounding waves. The wildness and power of it all is exhilarating. And I like to think of a great sea captain from literature standing upon the bow of his ship bravely facing the overwhelming storm.
Well, this was no romantic literary moment for the disciples. Some of them were fishermen and knew the sea. They knew its moods and dangers. And they were scared. They believed they would drown. They were at the end of their rope. So going to Jesus was not really a wrong thing. It was their last hope.
Except Jesus rebuked them. For some reason they did not have faith. This is a tough one. Really? How did they not have faith?
I have thought about this a lot over the years. I have been in some really bad situations. The water is in the boat. Really need help now. Now would be good!
But, I think the answer is in what they really thought about Jesus. They asked the question, “What manner of man is this?”
More Than a SuperHero
He had been with them. They had been following Him. They had left their normal lives for Him. They had seen the many miracles He had done.
He wasn’t Thor. Not Superman. Not Zeus or Hercules
But they still didn’t really know who He was. He was like the boss in disguise. KIng Richard in a common cloak. The Son of God looking like a normal guy. And not particularly good looking as Isaiah 53 says. Nothing to physically draw attention to Himself above other men.
It wasn’t that they should have waited longer for the boat to sink before calling Jesus. At least I don’t think so. Not sure that this was a timing issue.
This looks like an identification issue to me.
How Big is Our God?
We talk about the Lord. We read His Word. We follow His commandments. We talk with Him. We listen to Him. We love Him.
But we still do not grasp that God is in the boat with us. He is the Creator that holds the Keys of Life and Death. The God that holds every atom of the universe from flying apart. The Ancient of Days that dwells in eternity past and eternity future.
This is our problem. We think too little of Him. We look to Him but do not really see Who dwells within us. How deeply He loves us. How infinitely He has planned all our paths.
Jesus dwelt both on Earth and Heaven at the same time. Not too many people understand this. In John 3:13, it says that the Son of Man “is in Heaven”. Present tense. Both in physical form on this Earth and as God in the Heavens simultaneously!
So He was fully aware of the issue at hand in that boat. And He knew precisely the moment to act to keep them all from drowning. Maybe they were going to get wet. Maybe they would lose the boat. I don’t know. But they would have been OK because He was with them. And He was with the other boats that had sailed across with them.
There is so much here. I have just scratched the surface. But maybe these thoughts can help you as they have helped me.
The Lord of Glory is all around us. He is before us, behind us, below us, above us and within us.
Check out Psalm 139 for another astounding view of His presence and care.