2023 Week 1 Reading – Mark 4

This week, our reading plan has us in the first five chapters of Mark’s Gospel.  Mark is a fast-paced Gospel with a quick crescendo as Jesus’ power and authority are made very apparent.  He heals diseases, He casts out demonic powers, He preaches, He calls disciples and the crowds begin to follow Him.  His fame is growing.

As I was reading these chapters, the last part of Mark 4 stood out.  It is a familiar story—Jesus calms a storm.  The disciples are together with Jesus crossing the sea at night and a storm arises.  In fact, the way Mark describes it, “a great windstorm…and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.”  Sounds terrifying especially in the darkness of the sea.  Have you ever experienced that kind of darkness?

I remember sitting at dinner with my wife on our honeymoon in Hawaii.  We were at a restaurant that was right on the shore-line and we were able to look out to the ocean.  Since we were on the island of Kauai, there weren’t many lights around us at all, no big cities, nothing more than God’s creation.  As I looked out at a vast, unending body of water, really all I could see was darkness.  If all I knew was what I could see, I would be terrified.  Back to the story.

Where’s Jesus in this moment?  Asleep in the stern.  What was the reaction of the disciples?  It is the same reaction I often have in difficult times: they questioned the heart and power of Jesus!  “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”  In other words, their fear blinds them to reality and it takes over.  They interpret the moment through a fear-filled lens rather than having a clear view based on everything they’d already seen in Jesus: this is the same Jesus who has proven His power over sickness, disease, the spirit world…  they still don’t see Jesus for who He is.

I have to ask myself, after all of these years of seeing the work of the Lord in and around me, do I still lack faith similar to the disciples?  The answer is yes; in difficult moments, I can still allow fear to blur my vision.  

Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and the sea and instantly all was calm.  How often the Lord has worked in glorious ways that I’ve had the privilege to see, yet when difficulty comes, what goes through my mind?  This passage is a reminder and a challenge.

As we get to know Jesus more and more each day, through His Word and by the Spirit, may we grow to trust Him more, for He is trustworthy.  That’s why reading His Word is so helpful—He reveals just how amazing He is.