(April 07, 2022) Maureen McQuillan shares that Jesus truly cares…
When good friend Hope Flinchbaugh (Nehemiah-God’s Call to Build the Wall 2) enquired last month how Robert was going after several sleep-interrupted nights, he shared that he was now sleeping right through each night.
Hope then sent this note: ‘It sounds like you’ve learned to sleep in the boat when the big storm is on you!’ Robert had replied along the lines of ‘Not as restful as Jesus was… but I fully trust in Him.’
With various storms of life round us at this time, one needs to be at rest by knowing and trusting our Lord. Meditating on being at rest by trusting Jesus had me reflecting on Mark 4… Jesus asleep in a boat when a huge storm hit.
Jesus needed rest Himself
Verse 35 tells us that one evening Jesus had requested His disciples to take Him across the lake by boat.
He’d already had a very busy day teaching kingdom truths to crowds lined up along the shore. Now He was not only tired (Yes, ministry can tire us!), but maybe His mind was on the next day’s even busier one of supernatural ministry… finding and freeing that poor Gerasene man bound by many evil spirits, travelling dust roads, raising a little girl from the dead, and encountering that desperately troubled woman who would dare to boldly touch the hem of His robe believing to be healed, not to mention more criticisms (Mark 5).
Mark certainly believed He was tired, casually stating that ‘Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.’ Sleeping here is katheudō indicating to ‘lie down to rest, to fall asleep’ (v38).
Then he records that ‘A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it’ (Mark 4:37Message). The obviously frightened disciples woke Jesus up, ‘shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”’
Jesus does care!
Can you see the bigger picture here… so afraid for themselves, Jesus’ so-called friends accuse Him of not caring! And with the storm raging around them, they would not have been whispering quietly in His ear! Rather a harsh, possibly screaming frantic, ‘Hey! Don’t you care?’
I understand this incident happened in 28AD… within two years those panicking disciples would discover the extent of Jesus’ caring for them – and the world – when He willingly allowed Himself to be mocked, cruelly mistreated, illegally tried, whipped, then suffer and die on Calvary’s cross! (That Dark Friday’s Hours).
Jesus powerfully cares
Does Jesus care? ‘Care’… that’s melo meaning being concerned, being interested in. Of course Jesus cared for His friends! So interested in them that He would immediately prove His concern.
It was a caring Jesus who heard their cry, woke up, shook off sleep, rebuked the wind, commanding the waves, ‘Silence! Be still!’ Suddenly, verse 39NLT tells us, ‘the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.’
I see something precious here as panic miraculously turned to peace… Jesus rebuked the wind, not the whinners! He could have done that too, you know.
‘Rebuked’ is epitimaō… to censure, admonish. Now at some time or another, we’ve all felt the embarrassment of being censured, ‘ticked off’ by someone, a teacher, leader or boss. This teacher, the disciples’ boss as it were, could have so easily heavily admonished them for daring to wrongly accuse Him of not caring!
But instead He dealt with their fear, dealt with the wind, the storm! Then, when not only was the wind quieted but also their hearts, Jesus quietly (it seems to me) challenged them… ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ (v40).
It’s like the time later on when Peter began sinking after walking in faith on the water towards his teacher. ‘Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).
Here too there is the sense of a gentle telling of, a quiet challenge… a sort of ‘Tut, tut’ that we say to our children, seeking to correct, direct them.
Jesus cares in the dark nights
It’s trust in Jesus that brings us through – or around, or over, or under – or however you want to put it that gets us through every storm of life.
That ‘faith’ Jesus challenges about is pistis, indicating persuasion, conviction of the truth of God’s word, and a constant reliance on Him!
Methodist pastor, Frank Ellsworth Graeff (1860-1919) gave us a most precious hymn –
‘Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades
Into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?
O yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary,
The long night dreary,
I know my Saviour cares.’
Jesus sees our storms!
Jesus will always be there for us. What a comforting scripture is Hebrews 13:6, ‘So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.”’
Jesus comes alongside in the most amazing way at times, as He did for Peter… walking some two miles (2.2km) on that stormy sea for the one who would later betray Him!
Augustine wrote about this incident: ‘He came treading the waves; and so He puts all the swelling tumults of life under His feet. Christians – why afraid?’
In the Mark’s gospel incident, Jesus was right there in the boat. He cares for all of us today, wherever we are, whatever our storm may be!
Yes, let’s not be afraid, nor jump with fright when Jesus acts in some amazing way! Let’s expect the miraculous as we move ahead to some ‘other side.
The great Bible teacher, William Barclay, commented: ‘It is the simple fact of life… that when Christ is there the storm becomes a calm, the tumult becomes a peace, what cannot be done is done, the unbearable becomes bearable, and men pass the breaking point and do not break. To walk with Christ will be for us also the conquest of the storm.’
Jesus takes us beyond life’s storms
There are times we all go through storms, whatever their origin. If you feel that you’re in some sort of storm at present, remember that Jesus cares… invite Jesus to assist you through and across to ‘the other side.’
God has ‘something special in store’ for us up ahead and, even though we may not know exactly what, there’s no need to worry.
Let the Holy Spirit use your stormy season to honour Jesus. Trust Him and move forward!
The great thing is that storms don’t last, but Jesus’ love does!
Easter, next weekend, will be a time when Christians joyfully recall the fulfilment of John 3:16 – ‘God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life’ – and remember what it cost our Saviour.
And oh what happened after as the Acts 2 church went forward!