“Teacher, Do You Not Care … ?”

“And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself 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 got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush, be still.’ And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?’” (Mark 4:37-40)

Although this account of Jesus and His followers may be familiar, God recently gave me fresh insights that have rocked my boat (ha ha). May I share them? I’d like your boat to be rocked, too.

First, some context:

  • Who was with Jesus? His disciples, several of whom were fishermen by trade: skilled sailors, capable navigators, the “go to” experts on the Sea of Galilee.
  • This storm was not normal. The Bible described it as a fierce gale of wind; it may have been a satanically empowered “super storm” (see Job 1:12;18-19).
  • The disciples were not being wimps, here. It wasn’t that the boat was about to take on water; it was already filling up.This was imminent drowning; death waters were powerfully swirling about their feet or knees—with winds so strong they were likely struggling to stay upright.
  • The One who had performed countless miracles before their eyes was with them. The God-Jesus was also the Man-Jesus; His human body was exhausted. He was their only hope. And He was asleep.

It only makes sense that Christ’s disciples woke Him up. They asked Him if He didn’t care that they were about to die. Jesus immediately commanded the wind and the sea to be still, and there was perfect calm. No wind. No waves. Silence except, perhaps, for the sound of the disciples’ labored breathing and water dripping off their clothes and the ship’s masts. Their shocked gazes took this all in before fixing on Christ.

Can you imagine? Jesus then gently spoke.

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

His questions hung in the air.

I have to admit: Jesus’ queries seem odd in light of what his drenched, numbed followers just experienced. So when scripture reveals something Jesus says or does that is puzzling, given the context, what should we do?

First of all, we should get excited.

Next, we should roll up our sleeves and dig deeper into His Word; searching things out—in context—to see if we can answer the question, “Why would He say or do that?”

Previous chapters in Mark showcase Jesus’ love and teaching to His disciples. With great deliberateness, Jesus framed His response to their panic-induced question.

They hadn’t awakened Him and said, “Jesus, please help us! This storm is too much for us!” Rather, they asked:

“Teacher, don’t you care…?”

To Jesus, this was an absurd question. It exposed His disciples’ flawed thinking that Jesus’ level of care for them might somehow be lacking.

Earlier in the book of Mark, we see Jesus telling two of the disciples, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” He didn’t say, “Follow me, and we’re going to drown together in this sea in which you’re fishing.”

* * *

Under the disciples’ watchful eyes, Jesus had previously healed one of their loved ones in addition to many who were ill with various diseases. He’d cast out demons.  He preached and healed people throughout the entire region of Galilee. They saw Jesus touch a leper—a shocking act of radical compassion—and heal him. He openly and unapologetically forgave people their sins. And He taught the people things of God and His kingdom as they’d never heard before. He made no secret of His authority as the Son of God; Lord of the Sabbath. And they’d witnessed Jesus being maligned and accused of satanic powers by the religious leaders as He continued to help the weak, poor, broken, and needy.

Notably, Jesus began teaching the people in parables after the leadership of the nation rejected Him as the Messiah. Yet Mark 4:10 records, “As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables. And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables…”

Jesus was continually teaching and preparing His disciples for future work regarding the mystery of the kingdom of God. To some degree, when Jesus thought about this kingdom, He thought about His disciples. They were His chosen, flesh and blood ambassadors in training for God’s kingdom, and He made no secret of it.

“… but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples.” (Mark 4:34).

In the storm, it appears the disciples forgot things they’d seen and heard in Jesus. They forgot He chose them. They forgot He’d blessed them to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; to make them “fishers of men”. Or perhaps they remembered, but resented the countless miracles Jesus had done for others when it appeared He wasn’t showing any signs of coming through with one for them.

No matter their thoughts, the result was a questioning of Jesus’ divine character. Jesus challenged them on it: “Why are you afraid?”

I didn’t choose and train you because the kingdom of God is no longer important. I didn’t choose and train you because people don’t need to know God’s grace.

“Do you still have no faith?” He asked.

We’re in the same boat; do you think the Messiah could ever die accidentally? And have you not seen and heard enough of Me to believe I will do in and through you what I said I would? 

* * *

In a very real and deadly storm, the disciples were right to call upon Jesus. Their error, however, was to call on Him with an accusatory question regarding His character. The storm brought into focus an area where their faith was still lacking, even after all of the teachings given them by Jesus and the miracles they’d seen Him perform.

Ever been there?

* * *

It’s beneficial to look both at the narrative prior to and after an occurrence in Scripture. This is where God rocked my boat. I was experiencing fresh grief at my having questioned God’s love and care of me at times in my youth, but now He was going to ratchet things up a few thousand notches.

The storm-tossed disciples had no way of knowing there would be an odd type of role reversal coming up. But Jesus did.

* * *

Later, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus grieved in prayer over the unthinkable cost of going to the cross… while the disciples slept. It was a storm of physical, emotional, and spiritual agony for Jesus, the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world (Mark 14:32-35; John 1:29).

Jesus had specifically asked Peter, James and John to stay and keep watch; He told them He was grieved to the point of dying. But their human bodies were worn out; they were unable to stay awake (Mark 14:39-40).

The One who had been asked by His disciples whether or not He cared about them was pouring out His life in grief and prayer—to the point of death—over what He knew was to come on their behalf. And they slept through it.

Jesus, however, continued His purposeful walk to the cross to complete salvation’s plan in sacrificial love. To save those who were and are spiritually perishing.

* * *

I Peter 3:18 states, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit…”

* * *

 When we find ourselves in terrifying storms, are we asking God about His care for us while mentally sleeping through or forgetting His Gethsemane storm?

* * *

I told you this rocked my boat, and it did. God loves us and never leaves us when the winds of fear, betrayal, economic crisis, and/or devastating health issues are shrieking against us and our boats are taking on water. His Holy Spirit lives in the hearts of those who belong to Christ (Galatians 4:6) and Jesus Himself is seated at the right hand of the Father, continuously interceding on the behalf of His followers (Romans 8:33-34).

Jesus doesn’t expect perfection of His followers. But He expects that we learn to trust Him; that’s faith. Not just faith for our salvation, but faith in our storms.

The disciples were privileged to witness Christ in action and be personally taught of Him. Through the lens of Scripture and God’s Holy Spirit, we too have this privilege. We must methodically absorb biblical truths about God’s unchanging character and His promises to those who love Him. Then, when the storms hit, the truths of His character will be in our spiritual reservoirs, available for us to draw from in the midst of crises.

* * *

Lord, my prayer for us today is that when we cry out to You for help, as we should, that we won’t question Your holy character. May we remember You, our weeping Savior of Gethsemane, and the great cost of our salvation. Help us to understand that storms often purify our faith. And please; change our fears into tears of gratitude for Your great love and eternal trustworthiness. 



People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.


  • Katy says:

    Beautiful reminder! God is so faithful!

  • Stan says:

    A timely reminder!

  • Diana says:

    Good observations, June. What a comparison of Jesus sleeping in the violent storm and later His disciples sleeping when He wanted their support in His upcoming “violent storm!”

  • Penny says:

    I love your insight, Miss June! I had never thought of making the comparison between the disciples dilemma of thinking that they were going to die and desperately needed Jesus’s intervention and then Jesus agonizing over his upcoming death and needing desperately the prayers lifted up on his behalf by his disciples! This powerfully showed the depth of his love for us and His need to be loved by us! What a privilege to be called his beloved children! His love has no limit!

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