On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (ESV)
At Good Neighbors, we seek to restore hope by repairing homes. But what does that mean? Hope in what? Hope for what? In the short term, fixing homes for our needy neighbors restores hope in a stable present. If your roof is falling apart, it’s hard to feel secure. It might even be impossible to remain healthy. If we fix your roof, you have one less thing to worry about—one less thing convincing you that your life is, well, hopeless. It might even create a spark of hope for improvement in other areas, like your job or your relationships.
These are good things, but at the root, we seek to restore abiding hope—hope for this life and the next—by pointing homeowners (and the watching world) to Jesus Christ. The hope that is in Jesus is not a guarantee against present hardship, but a promise that he will walk with us in our troubled times. It is a promise that our present afflictions are light and momentary compared to the eternal weight of glory that awaits us. But hope in Jesus requires knowing who Jesus is.
And so now we come to Mark 4. I remember the first time I read today’s passage, I thought that Jesus was being kind of harsh with his disciples. Why shouldn’t they be afraid? How were they to know that he would wake up and stop the storm? If I was in a small boat in a raging storm, I would be afraid, too, wouldn’t I? It’s easy for us to miss what the disciples miss; it’s easy for us to forget who Jesus is.
If you revisit the preceding chapters, you’ll see Jesus constantly demonstrating his authority—authority in doctrine, authority over natural forces, and authority over spiritual forces. And if all of the teaching, healing, and demon eviction don’t make things plain enough, in Mark 2, Jesus declares sins forgiven, and proves his authority through another healing miracle. “Who can forgive sins but God alone?”, the scribes ask themselves in Mark 2. Who can heal paralytics but God alone? Who can command demons to leave tortured souls but God alone? The answer is no one. If no one but God can do these things, and Jesus does these things, then Jesus is God.
So why did Jesus tie the disciples’ fear to a lack of faith? Because they have already seen his authority over all things. Calming the storm is yet another amazing proof of his identity, but he has shown himself to them constantly in the time leading up to this point, and they have every reason to believe that where God the Son leads them, God the Son is with them. This is the hope that we ultimately desire to see restored to our homeowners. When we trust in Jesus’s work on the cross, and we follow him, we may follow him into toil and struggle and uncertainty. But it is no mere mantra or mere man that we follow, but Jesus, the God-Man, fully man, yes, but also fully God. The storm is never in control in Mark 4, and neither is the toil nor the struggle in our lives. The one who has called us to take up our cross and follow him has promised to be with us always, to the end of the age. He has promised an eternal weight of glory. This is true, lasting hope for today, for tomorrow, and forever.