Jesus was preaching from a boat on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35). Seeing the great throng of people amassed, he instructed his men to shove off for the other side. Perhaps his human side sought for peace and quiet. Even so, some in boats followed them.
With mountains surrounding the lake it was always possible for fierce squalls to quickly form, and one did, no doubt divinely orchestrated as a teaching moment. Here they were, no land in sight, winds at hurricane force, waves crashing about, water filling the boat, and Jesus slept in the stern on a pillow. They were all going to die, and in the common vernacular, the disciples were “freaking out,” especially those who spent their lives on this lake and had escaped these storms by a hair before. No doubt the intensity of the storm was even worse than they ever encountered.
Not really knowing what Jesus could do about it, they roused him, rashly accusing him of “failing to care.” Well, he did care about them, but needed to teach them that he even had power over “nature.”
But more importantly though, he needed to teach them to carry into the future the faith Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego carried into the fiery furnace (Daniel 3). They said when faced with certain demise, and I paraphrase, “My Lord can save us, but he might not, and we’re good with that too.” We learn from this story, by the way, the same Lord that was asleep in the stern was with these three brave souls in that blazing fire. And here’s an idle thought; the kingdom of God was in their boat!
We might think the disciples did exhibit a modicum of faith by turning to Jesus in such a dire strait, but they did so in frustration not faith. After he snapped his fingers and instantly the winds stopped and the sea became absolutely calm, they had to know they overstepped.
This man was God, and another kind of paralyzing fear immediately came over them.
As we read on, the disciples fretted about little things too and were chided for having “little faith.” If our God can control the weather, why wait for a life-and-death situation to exhibit faith?