Notes On Mark’s Gospel (45)

“On Your Mark”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

Fear that Leads to Trust
(Chapter 4 Verses 35-41)

The ensuing storm (vv35-37) takes place in the providence of God, who controls all events, including the natural elements. The region was well-known for its furious storms which developed very quickly. The tranquillity of Jesus as he sleeps through the storm (v38), due to the complete lack of fear, and total trust in his Father, are surely one lesson to be learned here. How many times in the Bible are we told not to be afraid? Something prior to the fall Adam knew nothing of, sin brought fear, anxiety and stress into the world with it (Genesis 3.10). We must learn to trust the Lord (Genesis 15.1; Joshua 1.9; Psalm 56.3; Isaiah 41.14; Isaiah 43.5; Isaiah 44.2; Matthew 10.28; Matthew 10.31; John 6.20; Acts 18.9). The storms are not quite such bad things really. Because they do reveal to us the exact depth of our trust in God. John Wesley travelling home from America with some of the Moravian brethren, amidst a similar storm, was utterly petrified of dying. As he looked at those brethren he realised he was utterly bereft of saving faith. He was subsequently converted on arrival back in England. If the storms of life reveal a deeper need to you, is that not a good thing?

The disciples are not impressed with this perfect peace at all, in fact they are aghast. In tones of rebuke they accuse Jesus of a callous indifference as to their well-being (v38b). Nothing could be further from the truth of course. The amazing thing is that these seasoned fisherman turn to a carpenter for help. But that was the intention from the beginning. Here you see is true faith. They have come to an end of themselves, and in their utter helplessness, cast themselves upon Divine aid, Jesus Christ. You see, faith is more than just a passive moral acquiescence in the Bible and Cross of Jesus. It is more than just nodding your head in approval to some personal worker. Such faith does not revolutionise your life (2Corinthians 5.17). It does not renew the heart (Ezekiel 36.26). It does not justify you before almighty God (Romans 5.9-11). It does not blot out your sin (Jeremiah 31.34). It does not write your name in heaven (Luke 10.20; Philippians 4.3; Revelation 21.27). This generation of Christians must be told the Christian religion is not something they can pay lip service to, or trifle with. Note there is no mention of any life-belts on this boat? There is only Christ who can save! The faith which saves puts you in a position where you cannot go back. Irrevocable commitment. Well?

(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)

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