How big is your God?

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, 'Let us go over to the other side.' Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, 'Teacher, don't you care if we drown?'

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Quiet! Be still!' Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

He said to his disciples, ''Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?' They were terrified and asked each other, 'Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!' (Mar 4:35–41)

Jesus wanted to go to the other side of the lake, so he got into a boat with his disciples and set off. As they were travelling, a furious squall arose which threatened to swamp the boat. It must have been severe because four of the disciples were fisherman who had fished that lake all their lives, and even they were frightened.

The Bible reveals that God is sovereign over the weather (Mat 5:45b; Psa 135:6–7)). He was responsible for Noah's flood (Gen 7) and, even though natural forces govern seasonal climates, they are all under his control (Gen 8:22). Satan has limited power to influence it, but only with God's permission (Job 1:6–12; 18–19).

Several factors point to Satan being responsible for this squall:

Who is this man?

A violent wind blew up with waves breaking over the boat, and yet Jesus was sleeping peacefully on a cushion. How could that be? Jesus knew it was his Father's will that he crossed the lake, and nothing can stop God from doing what he wants to do.

The disciples didn't know Jesus very well at that time: they knew he could heal the sick but they didn't know he could control the elements. They'd been frightened because of the waves; now they were terrified because he could control them. 'Who is this?' they asked in astonishment. They didn't fully understand who he was.

They'd been drawn to the Lord by the Holy Spirit, but hadn't yet received the Spirit (Joh 7:38–39; 20:21–22) so their understanding of him was limited. It was later that John, inspired by the Spirit, would write:

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (Joh 1:3)

They didn't understand that Jesus had created the universe (Col 1:16–18).

The Incarnation

I find the Incarnation one of the most thrilling doctrines in the Bible: that God, who created everything that exists (imagine the power required to do that), should come to earth in a human body.

If someone asked me whom I would liked to have been in the Bible, I would say Simeon. Simeon was told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Christ. And when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the temple he went up to them and took him in his arms (Luk 2:25–32).

Simeon types those who will still be alive when the Lord returns (1Th 4:15), but this man held the creator of the universe in his arms (imagine that), and I believe he understood what he was doing.

Imagine holding God in your arms! The thought just blows my mind; and to think that the same God died for my sins is beyond understanding. 'Amazing love,' wrote Charles Wesley, 'how can it be, that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?'

Knowledge of God

Jesus said, 'Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?' Man's faith in God is limited by his knowledge of God. The disciples didn't know that Jesus had created the universe, so they had no idea he could control the waves.

I want to ask you today: How big is your God? How well do you know your God? The Bible reveals God to us; it tells us everything he wants us to know about himself so we can put our faith in him. Read it constantly from Genesis to Revelation and your faith in him will grow.

Michael Graham
October 2006

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ®. NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.

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