THE MASTER OF THE DEEP
35 That evening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the east side.”
36 So they left the crowd, and his disciples started across the lake with him in the boat. Some other boats followed along.
37 Suddenly a windstorm struck the lake. Waves started splashing into the boat, and it was about to sink.
38 Jesus was in the back of the boat with his head on a pillow, and he was asleep. His disciples woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re about to drown?”
39 Jesus got up and ordered the wind and the waves to be quiet. The wind stopped, and everything was calm.
40 Jesus asked his disciples, “Why were you afraid? Don’t you have any faith?”
41 Now they were more afraid than ever and said to each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
It had been a long and difficult day for the Lord Jesus. The events of this day began in Mark 3:20. He had a confrontation with the Pharisees, v. 22-30. His friends and family thought He had gone crazy and tried to kidnap Him, v. 21; 31-35. Jesus also taught the people in parables and He had spent time explaining His parable to His disciples.
During the day Jesus sat in a little boat just off the shore of the Sea of Galilee. He had used that boat as His pulpit as He preached to the great multitudes that had gathered to hear Him, 4:1. When the day was over, He called His disciples to set sail for the other side of the lake.
When darkness fell, the disciples were making their way across that little lake. While they guided the boat, Jesus lay fast asleep in the rear of the boat. He was weary from the business of the day. This is one of the clearest portraits of our Lord’s humanity in the Gospels. I praise the Lord that He understands our weakness. He is able to sympathize with us when we get tired, Psa. 103:14.
Most of our Lord’s disciples were used to being on the Sea of Galilee at night; they were fishermen, after all. Some events would occur this night that would change their lives and their perception of the Lord Jesus.
These miracles proved to the disciples, and to us, that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. They demonstrate that He is the Master of every situation.
That night, in that storm, the disciples found themselves in the fight of their lives. They experienced the Lord’s power to deliver them and they lived to tell the tale. I would like for us to climb in the boat with them as they cross the Sea of Galilee. Their experience has much to teach us today.
There is a sense in which we are all involved in a journey today. We are sailing toward an unseen port called Heaven. As we sail, storms will arise and toss our vessel. Like the disciples, we often think the storms are going to destroy us. I want you to know that your storms were not sent to destroy you, but to develop you.
Let’s join the Lord and His men as they make their way across the Sea of Galilee. I want to point out some observations from this passage and share with you the subject The Master Of The Deep.
I. v. 37 THE POWER OF THE STORM
A: Its Suddenness – “there arose a great storm of wind” – Storms like this are very common on the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is an unusual body of water. It is relatively small (48km long, 11km wide); but it is half a kilometre deep, and the shoreline is 208m below sea level. Because the Sea of Galilee is below sea level and is surrounded by mountains, it is susceptible to sudden storms.
Winds sweeping across the land come up and over the mountains, creating downdrafts over the lake. Combined with a thunderstorm that appears suddenly over the surrounding mountains, the water stirs into violent 6m waves. The sea can be calm one minute and violent the next. These storms usually do not happen at night. So, these men did not set out in a storm and they did not expect one either, but a storm came anyway!
That’s the way life is too! Things can be fine one moment and the next, the bottom falls out. One minute you can be enjoying fair weather and the next, you find yourself in the middle of a terrible and horrible storm. One phone call, one twenty-four hour period of time, one doctor visit, one tick of the clock, and there you are, in the storm of your life.
This shouldn’t surprise us. The Bible says that the storms will come our way. In fact, you are in one of three places today. You are either in a storm, just coming out of a storm, or headed into a storm. Sudden storms are a part of our lives.
B. Its Severity – “the ship was now full” – These seasoned fishermen are frightened by the severity of this storm. The ship is rocking and reeling; it is full of water and they are afraid it is about to sink. It was a violent storm and it was night time too. They could not see where they were or how close they were to the shore and the other ships around them. They were in terrible danger, and they feared for their lives.
When the storms of life come, they are often severe and cause us great anguish and pain. The storms of suffering blow into our lives and devastate us with heartache, heartbreak and turmoil. One problem will arise after another and they will bury us under a blizzard of affliction. Many could testify about the storms of suffering.
Others face storms of sorrow. Someone you love is called away by death and it leaves you grief stricken and shaken by your loss. Sorrow touches every life! Jesus was in their boat and they were still afflicted by a storm of sorrow.
Still others are engulfed in a storm of sin. When sin enters our hearts, it always comes in as a pleasant, calm breeze. It promises us the best, but it soon displays its darker side. It will rip through your life like a tornado leaving a trail of damage and destruction that can only be repaired by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and His forgiveness. Some are in that storm today!
So, the storms come and they bring with them fear, anxiety and pain. I just want you to know that there is no storm on earth that Heaven cannot calm! There is no problem so great that Jesus cannot fix. Bring that storm to Him and watch His deal with it!
C. Its Source – Where did this storm come from? It may have been natural, after all, as I have already shared; the Sea of Galilee was susceptible to storms of this nature. However, it came at night and that was extremely rare.
God might have sent it for the very purpose of teaching these men to trust in Jesus. Or, the storm could have been satanic in origin. When Jesus calmed the storm in verse 39 and said “be still”, it is the same word that is translated “hold thy peace” in Mark 1:25.
The word means “to be muzzled”. It has the idea of muzzling a violent animal. When Jesus used that word in Mark 1:25, He was using it to command demons to be quiet. Perhaps this storm was an attempt by Satan to destroy the Lord Jesus. The Bible does not reveal the source of this storm.
The storms in our own lives can come from various sources too. Sometimes the storms are our own fault. We do things that get us into trouble and we have to pay the price. If you don’t believe me, just read the book of Jonah. We always reap what we sow, Gal. 6:7. Sometimes we cause the storms.
Sometimes God sends the storms. Why would He do that? Sometimes He does it to discipline us and draw us closer to Him. This was the case with David after he had sinned with Bathsheba, 2 Sam. 11-12. Sometimes He does it to teach us to trust His more deeply. This was the case with Job and all that he was forced to endure, Job 2:3. When God sends the storm it is always to draw us closer.
Sometimes Satan Is Allowed To Send The Storm. Satan will whip up a storm in your life to defeat you and drive you away from the Lord. He will do everything in His power to destroy you and your faith in God. We have a real enemy, who is seeking to defeat and destroy God’s children and he will do whatever it takes to accomplish that, 1 Pet. 5:8. Satan is limited in his ability to torment us by the sovereign will of Go
II. v. 35, 38 THE PROBLEM OF THE STORM
The greatest storm that night was not on the Sea of Galilee, but in the hearts of the disciples. This storm on the sea whipped up a storm of doubt within them that threatened to drown them all.
While the storm is raging around them, Jesus is fast asleep in the back of the boat. They run to Him and wake Him up. The word “awaken” means “to rouse from sleep”. It was used to speak of “a calm sea that was just beginning to be agitated.” I believe the Bible is telling that they went to where He was sleeping and they began to shake Him to wake Him up. These men are terrified and have lost all hope of ever surviving this storm. Let’s examine the doubts of these men today.
A. They Doubted His Goodness – “carest thou not” – They accused the Lord of not caring about what they were facing. Why this doubt? After all, they had already seen His compassion and goodness in action. They had seen Jesus conquer Devils, Disease, and Depravity. Mark 1:22-2:12.
Now, they are faced with a storm and they are afraid. They should have known that a puff of wind on a little pond could not thwart sovereign omnipotence! Do you know what their problem was? They were looking at situations and not at the Savior. They had their thoughts on the facts and not on faith.
Before we got too hard on these men; perhaps we should consider our own hearts. Have there been times, when the storms are raging in your life, that you have questioned God’s concern for you? You might not have said it out loud, but I am sure there have been times when your flesh has cried, “Lord, don’t you care about what is happening to me?” We’ve all been there at times!
I just want you to know today that He does care! He cares more than you could ever know, Heb. 4:15-16. He cares and He is doing something about the situation, even though you might not see it now. Don’t question His concern, He really does care!)
B. They Doubted His Grace – “we perish” – Remember, it was Jesus Who had sent them out onto the sea in the first place. These men had left everything to follow Jesus and now He has led them into an impossibly dangerous situation. They are afraid the Jesus is just going to let them all die.
Note: Jesus did not save you to abandon you when the going gets a little tough. He is absolutely committed to you and will never forsake you, Heb. 13:5. The word “leave” means “to let sink”; the word “forsake” means that He won’t “abandon you, desert you or leave you under any circumstances”. When the storm is raging; when your boat is rocking and reeling; when the adverse winds are blowing; when the waves are crashing against your vessel; He will not let you sink! He will hold you up and never desert you under any circumstances. The Lord Jesus Christ is absolutely committed to you!
The city of Jerusalem once felt forsaken by the Lord. Here is what they said and what the Lord said in reply: “But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me,” Isaiah 49:14-16. If the Lord would love the nation of Israel, whom He had redeemed out of Egypt; how much more will He love and protect His Own Church Whom He has redeemed by the blood of His Darling Son? He is committed to you! He will be present with you and He will give you grace sufficient for your need, 2 Cor. 12:9.)
C. They Doubted His Guarantee – “Let us pass over unto the other side” – Jesus had already told these men what was going to happen. He told them before the journey started that they were headed to the other side of the lake. If they had believed His words, they could have shouted in the face of the storm.
We act the same way! The Lord has already promised us that everything is going to be all right, Rom. 8:28; Gen. 50:20; 2 Cor. 4:15-17; Rom. 8:18. He has promised us that He will take care of us, Matt. 6:25-34; Luke 12:32. If we could just learn to take Him at His Word, then we could face the storms of life without fear. We would understand Who controls the storms and we could have peace, even while the winds blew and the waves crashed.
A young military officer and his young bride were married. They sat out on a honeymoon voyage and while they sailed a violent storm began to beat against their vessel. The young bride became very frightened by the storm but her new husband was not afraid, and she became irritated with him because he wasn’t afraid like she was.
After a while, he took his sword, pulled it out of its sheath, and put the point of the sword on the throat of his new bride, and she looked up at him and she smiled. He said, “You’re not afraid?” She said, “Oh, no. I’m not afraid of a sword when it’s in the hands of one who loves me.”
And then she got the point. You don’t have to be afraid of a storm when it’s in the hands of one who loves you. There is One Who rules over land and sea. There is One Who has the power to calm the storms that arise in your life. You and I need not fear the storm when our gracious, loving Heavenly Father is the On In control!
III. v. 39-41 THE PURPOSE OF THE STORM
When they roused Jesus from sleep, He began to work. As He did, they made some precious discoveries about the Lord. These are discoveries that we need to know about as well. As we face the storms of our lives, it will help us to know all we can about the One Who rides in our vessel.)
A. They Made Discoveries About His Power – This storm that so terrified these men posed no problem for the Lord Jesus. He rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea. When He did, the winds fell silent and the sea became as a sheet of glass. Just as easily as He had healed the sick and cast out the devils; He was able to control the storm.
The Lord we serve still has that same power today, Matt. 28:18; Gen. 18:14; Eph. 3:20. Your storm is no problem for Him! He can silence it with a word, if He so desires. He may, however, desire to allow the storm to rage. When He does this, He is well able to protect you in the midst of the storm.
B. They Made Discoveries About His Promises – Just as He said, they passed over, Mark 5:1. They learned that He was as good as His Word!
He still is! Everything He has promised He will do, Rom. 4:21; Heb. 6:18. He will not back away from any promise He has made in this book!
C. They Made Discoveries About His Presence – When the Lord is in your vessel, you have an advantage. The Bible says in verse 36 that there “were also with him other little ships.” There were many boats on that sea that night, but only one contained the Lord of glory. That boat was the place to be.
As we sail on the sea of life, we need to remember that we are all in this thing. We are all on the sea, we are all in our boat, and we all voyage together. We need to be sure that Jesus rides with us in our vessel. Having Jesus in your vessel makes all the difference. They were able to call on Him because He was with them. They were able to see Him move in power because He was with them. They were able to experience His peace because He was with them. Is His in your vessel? If He isn’t, how do you weather the storms that arise in your life?
D. They Made Discoveries About His Purposes – The storm taught these men a lesson they could have learned no other way. It would have been nice if they would simply have believed Him after seeing Him do all the great things He did in chapters one and two. It would have been great if they could have taken the things the Lord did for others and applied it to their own lives. If they could have said, “You know, if Jesus can heal a leper, cure Peter’s mother-in-law, cast out devils, heal that guy with the palsy and forgive his sins, then I am sure that He can take care of this storm too.” But, they seemed unable to process that information and apply it to their own lives. So, He sent them into this storm to teach them to trust Him.
What about us? We have the Bible. It tells us all the things He has done and can do. We have the testimony of others around us. We have seen what He has done for them. We have even seen Him move in our own lives. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just trust Him? We don’t, so He uses the storms to teach us that we can lean on Him and trust Him to take care of us.
When they arrived in Gadara they saw that demon possessed man. I wonder if they doubted Him after the storm. When they saw Jairus come for help for his daughter, and even when she died, I wonder if they said, “I believe He can take care of this”. I think the storm increased their faith! That may have been the purpose all along. If it wasn’t the purpose, the Lord surely used it in that fashion. He does the same for us!
When you come to Mark 6:48-51, there you find these same men in another storm. Again, they are afraid. They are filled with doubt once again. But, this time, Jesus is not with them in the boat. Again, they are filled with doubts and fears. Jesus comes to them and stills their storm. They are taught another valuable lesson: even when you can’t see Him, He is still watching you and working on your behalf!
Sometimes, He sends the storms to educate us and to teach us to trust. His purpose is not to hurt us, but to grow us. You can always trust the Lord to do right in the storms of life.)
E. They Made Discoveries About His Peace – While they are fretting and fearing, what is the Lord doing? He is sleeping! Why? He knows that He is in the center of His Father’s will. He knows that He will die on a cross and not in a shipwreck. He can sleep during the storm because He trusts His Father to take care of Him.
If a situation doesn’t rattle the Lord, we shouldn’t allow it to rattle us either! And, nothing rattles Him, Psa. 121:4; Psa. 127:1-2.
F. They Made Discoveries About His Person – When Jesus calmed the sea, they were amazed and said, “What manner of man is this?” They learned that He is the One Who is in control of every puff of wind; every angry wave and every storm. He is a good man to know!
Conclusion: I don’t know the nature of your storm, but I know Who can calm it. He is still the Master of the deep.
If it is a storm of suffering; He can ease your pain.
If it is a storm of sorrow; He can comfort your soul.
If it is a storm of sin; He can deliver you and set you free.
Do you need to hear Jesus say “Peace, be still” to your storm? If you do, bring it to Him and watch Him work.