The Reading: Mark 4:35-41
“Don’t you care if we perish?” (v.38) RSV
We come to another of the unique insights that Mark alone records. The cry of the disciples is not an example of faith, despite the fact that Jesus answers and calms the storm! No, it is an example of fear, panic and accusation. No wonder Jesus commented when it was all over “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?”
The disciples have been ‘caring’ for Jesus. They’ve been doing their stuff and are probably feeling quite good about themselves. Now suddenly the tables are turned and their first reaction is to blame Jesus. How can he let this happen? Why isn’t he immediately making everything okay? Why doesn’t he care for us? This is an attack on Jesus and his love. Amazingly Jesus never reproaches them for this blasphemy.
And who were the “we” that the disciples were anxious about? Did “we” include Jesus, or just themselves? We, too, are often quick to blame God. We think that it probably wasn’t his ‘fault’ that the storm came, but we find fault with him for not sorting out the problem immediately. How dare he allow us to be upset, frightened and endangered. Doesn’t he love us?
It is pressures and crises that reveal what lies within us. We can be rather good Christians when we are in control and all is going moderately smoothly. But put the squeeze on us and, oops, something rather unpleasant comes out from us.
Jesus is looking for the sort of faith that is not frightened whether we sink or swim. The faith that trusts God come what may. St Paul was able to say, “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Now that is faith. Next week we shall see, in fact, exactly the sort of faith that he was looking for from his disciples.
Thank you Lord that you never leave us nor forsake us, and that we are within your protection. Forgive us when we fear and shout at you. Help us to praise you and rejoice in all circumstances. Amen.
1 Who else blamed God?
Job 3:1, 38:1-2, 40:1-2
2 How did Jesus speak to God when on the Cross?
Luke 23:34, 46