ODJ: with us

December 12, 2015 

READ: Mark 4:35-41 

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” (v.39).

When I visited the land of Israel, I was surprised by the small size of the Sea of Galilee. This was no sea, but merely a lake some 21 kilometers long and 13 kilometers wide. I could easily see across to the other side. How could a storm on this tiny body of water terrify the disciples? Talk about a tempest in a teapot! I scoffed at their fear—until I saw the size of an ancient boat.

A museum near the Sea of Galilee displays the hull of a first-century fishing boat, the kind that Jesus and His disciples would have used. The shallow, flat-bottome boat was merely 8 meters long and 2 meters wide. With thirteen men on board, it would have set frighteningly low in the water. Even slightly choppy waves would have washed over the side. I too would have cried out to Jesus if I had sailed into a storm on that dinghy.

The disciples’ boat reminds me that you and I are fragile. Our accomplishments might seem impressive to some, but in our heart of hearts we all know that our boat is small and shallow. It won’t take much of a storm to swamp us.

Aren’t you glad that the Son of God wasn’t too proud to enter our “boat”? He humbled Himself and entered into our frailty. He understands what it’s like to sail in a sinking ship, and He retains the power to do something about it. It matters that our Savior didn’t exercise His sovereignty over the storm from on high. He stilled the waves from right here. When “he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Silence! Be still,’” He was standing with us (Mark 4:39). He calmed the sea from inside the boat.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the storms in your life? Cry out to the One who’s standing beside you. He’s Immanuel—God with us.

—Mike Wittmer

365-day-plan: 1 Timothy 6:3-21

Read Hebrews 4:16–5:10 to learn how Jesus experienced our fragility. 
Where do you feel particularly weak? Ask Jesus to step into your boat. How has He revealed His presence to you?