Series 1 of 3
By Pastor Jarrel S. Sena
This particular occasion in the ministry of our Lord can also be found in Matthew (Matthew 8:23-27) and Luke (Luke 8:22-25) gospel accounts.
Before the events in Mark 4:35-41 occurred, our Lord has just finished ministering to the people. Such demanding schedule had made Him weary and tired. To escape from the people, Jesus ordered the disciples (12 Apostles) that they go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. They took a boat and as they went on their way Jesus fell asleep. Then, a storm hit the Sea of Galilee and this has terrified the disciples.
The unique text under consideration highlights Jesus’ humanity and deity. He is fully human because He experienced weariness and fatigue. He had a deep sleep in the midst of a violent tempest. He is also fully divine which explains His authority over the storm that by His words alone, it calmed the raging weather.
Obviously, like the disciples we are in the midst of a terrifying storm. The storm we are currently experiencing is unprecedented and unseen; the COVID-19 pandemic. Like any other storm, we are now forced to stay at home in order to control the rapid increase of COVID-19 cases across the country. I would like also to point out that this infection could also produce a biological storm in our body. Scientists refer to this as a cytokine storm. “A cytokine is a short-lived signaling molecule that the body can release to activate inflammation in an attempt to contain and eradicate a virus. In a cytokine storm, the immune system floods the body with these molecules, essentially sounding a fire alarm that continues even after the firefighters and ambulances have arrived.” (www.theatlantic.com)
So, we are facing two types of storm. External storm, that is the COVID-19 has cancelled our daily routines and we are advised to remain indoors which is a common situation when a real storm is present. There is also the internal storm which can be experienced by those who are infected by the novel coronavirus. In times like this, we Christians always go to the solid rock of the Word of God. This is the proper response when faced with unprecedented difficulties.
The Occurrence of the Storm
As we all know, storms are part of our life here on Earth. Especially in the tropical regions, storms are normal natural phenomenon. Now, at this point let me say that there at least four types of storms in the Bible that correspond to our life’s experiences:
1. Seasonal storms These are the storms we experience because of change of season. These are the normal and natural-occurring storms. In life we experience these because these are part of human existence. Our Lord mentioned this type of storm in Matthew 5:44-45.
2. Sin-influence storms As the name indicates, these are the storms that are the consequence of our disobedience from God. Jonah is the perfect example here. The prophet has received a clear command from God to prophesy against Nineveh but he decided to went the opposite way for he boarded a ship to Tarshish. In his journey away from his divine mission, God caused a violent sea storm. This led Jonah to be swallowed by a “great fish” (probably a whale shark) and he repented of his sin inside the animal’s belly. Similarly, our storms could be the result of our rebellion against God’ plan and purpose for us. Since God is not an irresponsible parent, He will lead us back the right path and this may be in a form of discipline (Hebrews 12:4-7).
3. Strengthening storms Trials and difficulties are not necessarily because of what we did wrong. God must have allowed these to happen because through these hardships we will grow in our trust in Him. In the text under consideration it was Jesus who commanded His disciples to get into a boat and to sail with Him to the opposite side of the Sea of Galilee. Following Jesus includes experiencing storms because through these phenomena our trust in Him is being tested.
4. Shared storms The fourth kind of storms in our lives are those that are the consequence of the mistakes or sins done by other people. These people are related to us in one way or another and their mistakes has affected us. It is like falling into a snare because other people has led us into it. The Apostle Paul experienced this in Acts 27:9-44. He is being brought to Rome along with other prisoners by the sea. Paul recommended to the ship’s crew to stay Fair Havens because of the impending danger that they will experience if they continue to sail to Rome. However, the Roman centurion did not believe him and push through the journey. Paul’s warning did happen because a violent storm has hit them which led to their shipwreck.
As long as we are in this fallen world, we will experience a wide spectrum of life's storms. Such truth must drive us to prepare ourselves by constantly standing on God's unwavering promises. The COVID-19 storm has been allowed by God because this can be used to strengthen His people’s trust in His reliable and life-giving Word.