Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – Mark 4:38-40

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Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

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Mark 4:38-40

(38) He Himself was in the stern asleep on the cushion; and they awoke Him and said, Rabbi, do You not care that we are perishing?” (39) And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and said to the sea,HUSH, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.  (40) And He said to them, “Why are  you so timid? How is it that you have no faith?”

What Does it Say?

  1. He Himself was in the stern asleep; they awoke Him. “Rabbi! Do You not care we are perishing?”
  2. Being aroused, He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “HUSH!” The wind died, became calm.
  3. Why are you so timid? How is it you have no faith?

What Does it Mean?

Last week at The Cove’s Bible study we learned extensively what it was to be a Rabbi and what it meant to be a talmid—a disciple who learns from the Rabbi. Talmidin do not want to know what the Rabbi knows, talmadin want to be what the Rabbi is.  When the talmid is done with his training, the Rabbi will then turn to him and say, “As much as it is possible, you are like me; so GO! And seek out other talmid to be like you; and as they follow you, they will follow me, because you are like me!”

Jesus chose  twelve disciples—twelve talmidin—who left everything to follow Him. They were to follow the Rabbi—to go where the Rabbi went, to eat what He ate, say what He said, and do what He did.  The talmadin were not at luxury to challenge the Rabbi or to change course from the Rabbi. The title of Rabbi meant so much more than just “teacher.”

Rabbi Jesus in verse 35 tells His talmidin “Let’s go to the other side!”  They had just sat through a day of extensive teaching and were probably ready to enjoy a late lunch and to bed down for the night. Jesus was not done.

That phrase “the other side” sounds innocent enough, doesn’t it? Well, it was a bombshell to those talmadin. Most of them were experienced fishermen, so navigating across the 3-mile Sea of Galilee was not going to be the issue… the issue was that they despised everything about the “other side.” The other side was—well, “the other side”—the Roman side… the side that worshipped Caesar as god. They offered food to idols and incense to false gods. They ate… pigs! The other side and their customs were hated by God, so they were hated by the talmidin. Now, Rabbi Jesus is saying to go over there? Who was this Jesus?

These talmidin more than anything wanted to honor God and serve Him, YHWH—a name they would not even utter because it was so holy. Now they were to go over to the other side?  Into the filth?  Into the chaos?  Into the mess?  Were they not to “Be holy as I AM holy?”  Was Rabbi Jesus asking them to do something that went against God’s commands?  Yes, this was what they believed: Jesus was wrong. The problem was… Rabbi Jesus was just that: Rabbi; and if He was Rabbi, then they were to follow, to obey.  Do you feel the tension?

We so often read these stories and miss the conflict because we know their ending. But let’s pause in the middle of this account and feel this tension.  Feel the doubt.  Feel the enormity of the decision that lies before them.  Can you relate to this in the least?  Have you ever questioned God and where He was leading you? It made NO SENSE! It actually went against everything you said you would ever do?!  I can feel it. I question God all the time, unfortunately.

The disciples got into the boat and began the journey over to the other side. Immediately the wind and waves tried to kill them. The disciples did all they could do to save themselves; they bailed water, they worked hard and then harder.  They worked to the point of exhaustion; and where was Jesus?  He was asleep. Exhausted from the day of teaching. Jesus was sleeping in the stern, which is where the boat is steered from. Funny, isn’t it? If they wanted to change course, they would have had to physically move Jesus out of the way, because the steering column is in the stern.

The talmidin had exhausted all their sailing skills. They were at the point of death. SO THEN they woke up Jesus…. their last option. Honestly, I think they woke Jesus up to give Him a bucket so He could help with the bailing of water.

Don’t you care that we are going to die?” The Rabbi was supposed to care completely for the talmidin, so they were accusing Jesus of sleeping on the job. I don’t think they woke Jesus up with the expectation that He would hush the storm; I think they woke Him up to help them in their efforts. Why do I think that?  Because that is what I do.

I think the talmidin were thinking how wrong the Rabbi was in asking them to go to the other side, and they didn’t want to outright say that. “Look! Rabbi! We are following YOUR orders… look where we are! We are going to die!”  At that moment the disciples doubted everything Jesus had said.  They doubted who Jesus was. Jesus was in front of their face and they doubted?! Again, sounds exactly like me.

Jesus stood up and said, “HUSH!” and the wind which was the cause of the waves stopped.  The waves became perfectly still. The talmidin asked, “Who is This?”

The talmidin were men of the Book… they KNEW God’s Word—most of them knew it word for word. The word Jesus used, “HUSH,” was a big deal.  YHWH “hushes” the sea… and calms the storm…. and when His own cry out to Him, He answers. If God hushes the sea… is Jesus God with skin on?! Ahhhh, now that is the question each of us from the disciples on have to answer, isn’t it?

Rabbi Jesus was relentless for the other side, but He was also relentless for His own talmidin to believe Him. God has not changed. He is still doing the same thing today.

God will often call us to places beyond our logic, beyond our desire, and beyond our ability, so that He can show us that He is God—more than that, so that each of us will proclaim, “Oh God, you are my God” (Psalm 63:1).

What Does it Mean to Me?

When has God called us to a place beyond ourselves?  Beyond where we wanted to go?  Beyond where we could go on our own?

What adversity have you encountered in the process of being a talmid and following the Rabbi?

When have we doubted that God really cares about our well-being?  When has God provided a way for you when there was no way?


Today, I will choose to be a disciple of the Book.  Today I will follow the Rabbi where He leads and go to those to whom He leads me.


Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress.  He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were HUSHEDThey were glad when it grew calm, and He guided them to their desired haven.   (Psalm 107:28-30)

– Kendra

P.S. Ladies, you can still join us for our Winter Women’s Bible Study at The Cove!  We meet each Tuesday evening through February 20th.  Register online today.

Can’t make it in person?  We’ll be streaming LIVE each Tuesday evening on Periscope, via Twitter, where you can watch from the comfort of your own home.