Given their daily exposure to Jesus’ teaching and miracles, we think it odd that the disciples were slow to understand who Jesus really is. But looking to our own track-record, we discover how many times that we have had questions and doubts – despite having just witnessed great blessings from the Lord – and understand how easy it is to forget!
On the occasion that Jesus was asleep in the boat, we can safely assume that that was not the first storm that the disciples had ever despaired over. However, with their emotions high for fear of being swamped, even we would excuse them for wondering why Jesus wasn’t lending a hand to keep the boat afloat.
From our 2000-years-later vantage point, we easily conclude that these men, who had witnessed Jesus turn more than 120 gallons of water into wine, shouldn’t have feared a storm when he was near.
We see that the disciples’ cry of, “Carest thou not that we perish, how canst thou lie asleep?” was heard and responded to by Jesus’ command, “Peace! Be still!” (Mark 4:39).
Then came Jesus’ stern rebuke: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).
Again, looking back, we think that the disciples’ fears should have calmed with the wind and sea. Instead, “They were terrified.” It is within this sudden “peace” that one kind of terror turned to another, “and they asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41).
Faith does not stay static; if its not growing, then its shrinking. Jesus expects our faith to grow—especially in the storms—because that is when we must hold fast in the presence of him who has all the power.
We do not cry, “Who is this?” We cry, “This is Who…turns storms into faith!”