Jesus said to His disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” With that, the disciples set off across the lake and head into a ferocious storm. As the waves are breaking over the boat and filling it with water, the Lord Jesus is asleep in the stern of the boat. Here we see Jesus as the perfect example of trust, that, while he is in mortal danger of drowning in the lake, He so trusts His heavenly Father that He can sleep in the storm.
What I want to do with a short series of blogs is first to examine the trust demonstrated by Jesus Christ and understand in a new and deeper way the greatness and the perfection of our Savior, the God-Man Jesus Christ. But then I also want to explore ways that we, too, can become people who trust the Lord, even in the midst of storms that may threaten our lives. Since Jesus is our perfect example of trust, we must learn how to live by faith and walk by trust in the Lord in the midst of all our circumstances so that we walk as Jesus walked. A disciple is one who is growing in trust of the Lord.
Jesus, Our Example: Perfect Trust in the Storm
As Mark’s gospel account of the life of Jesus unfolds, it quickly becomes apparent that this Jesus is no ordinary person. While His voice is an ordinary human voice, the authority of His words come forth with unquestioned power. His words are certain and uncompromising and pure. They ring with the truth of heaven. He commands demons and they instantly obey. He dispels disease and death with a word or a touch. He has supreme confidence in Himself without the slightest hint of self-consciousness. His disciples hang on His every word and begin to believe that He may be the promised Messiah. And so when He says they are going to the other side of the lake (Mark 4:35), they eagerly hop in the boats and begin sailing and rowing toward the other shore.
When the boat has left shore far behind and the Master has fallen asleep in the stern of one of the little boats, “a fierce gale of wind” arises and begins to threaten the lives of all the men in the boats, including the Lord Jesus Himself. Make no mistake about the circumstances – the lake is deep and the disciples are far from shore. They are completely vulnerable and the situation is definitely life-threatening. You know that things are dire when the fishermen in the boat, who have fished this lake all their lives, wake up the Carpenter and ask Him to do something. My trust wavers and my faith flags when I hear an unusual noise under the hood of my car or when my manager at work calls me into his office, but our Lord was so confident of His Father’s care that being in the midst of a hurricane in the middle of a deep lake in a tiny boat did not prevent Him from taking a nap. Jesus has perfect trust in His Father taking care of Him.
There are two things that I want to mention that aided Jesus in His trust in the Father’s protection in this life threatening situation. First Jesus knew all the promises of God which had been written in the Scriptures and He had every reason to believe that all the promises made to the righteous in the Word applied to Him. God would be His refuge and His fortress, His help in time of trouble. He could abide with safety in the shadow of the Almighty. God would answer Him in time of trouble. God would conceal Him in His tabernacle. God would deliver Him from the hand of the wicked. When Jesus passed through the waters, the LORD would be with Him and the rivers would not overflow Him. Jesus could trust the Father with these and many more promises.
But more significantly and more profoundly, Jesus could perfectly trust His heavenly Father with His life on the Sea of Galilee, because Jesus knew that He was not going to die on the lake in a storm. Jesus had been chosen by the Father and sent to earth to die on a cross in Jerusalem. His atoning, sacrificial death on the cross had been ordained before the foundation of the world and there was no possibility that Jesus, the suffering Servant and the Son of God, was going to die anywhere but on Calvary’s tree. The salvation of God’s elect and the completion of God’s redemptive plan and the propitiation of God’s wrath necessitated the sacrifice of the Lamb of God on the cross and there could be no deviation from that predetermined plan (Acts 2:23). Since that was the case, Jesus could trust that He was secure on the lake in the storm. No matter how ferocious the storm, Jesus knew that His time had not yet come. Jesus had a baptism to undergo (Luke 12:50) and He still had a bitter cup to drink (Mark 10:38) and the accomplishment of His appointed work (John 17:4) precluded any premature death in a boating accident.
So we see the glory of Jesus in His perfect trust in His heavenly Father. But how can we, as His disciples, follow in His steps and grow in our trust in the Lord so that we are not disturbed by life’s storms? That will be the subject of the next couple of blogs.
SDG rmb 10/3/2016