Cowardice or Christ: Mark 4:35-41

The disciples were in the will of God. They were following Jesus command. Jesus said, “Let’s go across to the other side.” If we are in the will of God when the storm hits, then we will be saved.

In this story there are two kinds of fear directed at two different realities.

Jesus said, “Why are you so afraid? Don’t you have any faith?”

The first GR word for fear has a meaning of timidity or cowardice. This fear was directed at the storm. The disciples fear of the storm was cowardice. (The soldiers of Israel were cowards. They were intimidated by the size of Goliath and David wasn’t.) This fear is backing down in the face of opposition. Instead of facing the opposition with faith in Christ, the fishermen acted like cowards who have never been in a storm before. It’s like Jesus was saying, “Of course, I’m concerned! Do not be cowards! Use your faith.”

The second GR word for fear is true fear. This “great fear” was directed at Christ and his authority to command the forces of nature. This is a good fear. It has the meaning of holy respect. They respected the power of Christ. The disciples knew Christ could heal and cast of demons, but they had never seen him command nature. They were still learning about Christ. “Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?” They feared him more than the storm and that’s good fear.

Cowardice or faith in Christ? When you are caught in a storm, a crisis, do you doubt Christ’s concern for you? Do you act cowardly or act with faith? Do you use the storm to learn more about Christ and respond to him with holy respect? Which reality grips you more – the reality of the storm or the reality of Christ’s love and power?

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