Stormy Weather

Bible Passage: Mark 4:35-41

How many of you have ever been out on a boat in windy weather? How did it feel being out in a boat in a storm?

Being caught in a storm is a scary experience!

And the Sea of Galilee is famous for sudden and vicious storms. It’s worth remembering that the disciples were probably used to that. A good number of them were fishermen so the fact that they were so terrified by this storm should tell us a bit about how ferocious it was.

You can imagine the boat being thrown about by the waves, the disciples frantically trying to clear water from the decks.

And yet in the middle of it all Mark tells us that Jesus was asleep. Not just calmly waiting for them to ask for help.


The disciples wake Jesus up in something of a panic. They are convinced that they are going to drown. But Jesus doesn’t join in the panic. He simply stands up and tells the storm to stop.
And it does.
From stormy seas to millpond flatness in an instant. Then turning to the disciples he asks them a question, which, to an outside ear, sounds more than a little silly:

“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

It’s hard to tell whether the disciples were more terrified by the storm or by the power Jesus displayed in stopping it! They asked each other: “Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey him!”

But is the point of this story simply one about weather? Is the ultimate message of this story that God can stop a storm? Is this really great news for our church BBQ?

I’m going to suggest that it isn’t.

You see ancient Jewish culture saw large bodies of water as something very frightening. Lots of them were terrified of it. To them the water represented chaos, fear and death. It was a place where God was not in control.

All of us have times where we feel like things are out of our control. We have times when we are afraid, we have times when everything around us seems chaotic. Maybe it is our job, our finances, relationships or illness. We all face stormy times.

In the midst of all of this Jesus asks us the same question he asked the disciples:

“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith”

We serve a God who is with us in the midst of the most difficult storms in life, when things seem beyond our control. And, in those storms, we have two possible responses: Firstly the response of the disciples, a response that is basically blind panic, forgetting who is with us in the boat and not trusting in him but trying to save ourselves.

Or, our response could be one of faith. Remembering God’s promise to never leave us or forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5) we can place our trust in the one who is in the boat with us, the one who overcomes darkness, brings life form chaos and who calms storms.

“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”


For this talk why not think of going for something different as a visual aid. We used a clip from YouTube of a merchant ship in a storm as the background to the talk instead of a traditional PowerPoint presentation. We simply played five minutes of the video (starting after the opening text and ending before the closing text) during the talk and it really helped people to visualise the storm and engage with the talk much more.

There are plenty of great videos out there. The one we thought worked really well was this one: 

The stations that followed this talk were:

Be Still

The Sea