That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” -Mark 4:35-41
Many people have great trouble believing in Jesus’ miracles. Some scholars even resort to claiming that legendary elements have crept into the text over time and must be interpreted in some naturalistic way.
But that’s like the fool who plucked out all the feathers of the peacock in order to get to the real bird. If we remove the supernatural Jesus from the New Testament we remove the real Jesus. Even pagan historians of Jesus’ era mention that whatever else Jesus did, he was a worker of miracles. Besides, if Jesus really was who he claimed to be, then it shouldn’t surprise us that he had power over nature.
So what does this particular miracle of Jesus mean for us today?
1) A nature miracle reveals the providence of God. It means that in a life storm of great power, Jesus isn’t on the shore somewhere cheering us on, or hovering over us in some celestial glory. Rather, he’s right there in the boat with us to help and preserve us. And, even if his power is hidden to many others in the storm, we are allowed to see who our Helper really is.
2) It awakens and energizes our faith. In the New Testament just as often as faith precedes a miracle, so faith follows one. Many times it’s the miracle that produces the faith. Jesus is interested not so much in the demonstration of great power, but in the production of faith that follows the disclosure of his identity.
3) The miracles of Jesus call us to see who he is and to follow him in absolute trust. It’s in the following that we see even more of his power. It’s been said that if you want to see miracles, then you have to go where they are taking place. And that tends to be where in Jesus’ name people are trying to accomplish the impossible in carrying out his will.
In this passage (and other passages about the miracles of Jesus) we hear a two-fold message:
First, to the skeptic, be even more skeptical. Be skeptical of your skepticism and investigate the accounts of Jesus’ miracles with an open mind.
Second, to the believer, get going and get involved in the purposes of Jesus Christ. Become a cause and not just someone else’s effect. Let’s stop being everyone’s victim, pawn, or reaction; rather let’s be a shaker and a mover in Jesus’ name and in his power.
Let’s embrace the power of Christ in our lives and see what miracles occur in 2018! Are you ready?