THE STORM OF LIFE
Key Verse: 6:20
"But he said to them, 'It is I; don't be afraid.'"
This passage is entitled, "Jesus walks on the water." This title
claims that Jesus is the Son of God who can rule and overrule nature.
But there is more in this passage. This passage tells us that Jesus
gives his disciples a storm training so that they might experience
victory over the storm of life and become future leaders.
I. The storm of life without Jesus (16-19)
First, Jesus sent them ahead of him. After feeding the 5,000 people
with five loaves and two fish, the disciples picked up twelve
basketfuls of leftovers. But still, the people didn't want to leave
Jesus. So Jesus stayed over there somehow to dismiss the crowd. Since
the sun was hanging on the western horizon, Jesus urged his disciples
to slip away from the crowd first. So they got into the boat and set
off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had
not yet joined them. They were sailing toward the seashore of
Capernaum, while Jesus was caring for the sheep who were still there.
Here we learn that Jesus cares for the flock of God's sheep to the end.
We learn why Jesus stayed over when we refer to Mark's gospel. Mark
6:45 says, "Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and
go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd." Jesus
was very mindful of the flock of God's sheep. The crowd was greatly
satisfied after eating the food Jesus had distributed out of the five
loaves and two fish. Now, Jesus was greatly worried about how they
would go back to their own places when the sun was setting in the
western horizon. Jesus is like a mother who worries about her children
day and night. Jesus is like the mother who wakes up during the night
several times to take care of her children. Mark 6:34a says, "When
Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because
they were like sheep without a shepherd." Jesus thought that they were
in that miserable situation, not because they were wrong, but because
they had no shepherd. Of course, they ate a lot through the event of
feeding the five thousand with five loaves and two fish. But Jesus
worried again how they would provide the next meal for themselves. Mark
8:3 says, "If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way,
because some of them have come a long distance." There was a
grandfather who was old and tired and was burdened with many tasks. His
grandson sensed that his grandfather was sorry about something. While
his grandfather was sitting on a sofa, he immediately put two pillows
behind his grandfather's head, one pillow under his feet, and folded
two blankets and put them under his grandfather's two arms. His
grandfather was greatly restored from his sorrow. It is obvious that
God gave human beings mindfulness, and mindfulness is compassion.
It is indeed amazing that Jesus fed the crowd of 5,000 people with
Andrew's five loaves and two fish. This miracle shows us Jesus' great
shepherd heart. He had no bread to feed them, but out of his compassion
he fed them because he wanted to feed the flock of God's sheep. After
feeding the crowd of 5,000 people he must have been very tired. He
understood that his disciples were also very tired, so he sent them
away by boat. But he remained to take care of the flock of God's
Jesus also stayed over there to pray to God on the mountain during
the night (Mk 6:46). In reality, Jesus had no quiet time to pray,
because all day long he had to take care of crowding people. On his way
somewhere or during eating time he taught his disciples. So he had no
private time to pray to God. But here we see that Jesus prayed. Jesus
could do everything, whatever he wanted. But he did not. Jesus did
everything by the strength of God through prayer. He prayed, overcoming
his exhaustion. Jesus' prayer was the time to report to God what he had
done. Jesus' prayer was the time to fill up his spiritual strength in
God. Jesus did everything through prayer. Jesus did everything with the
strength of God. Jesus did everything for the glory of God through
prayer. Jesus did everything in obedience to God through prayer.
Second, the storm of life without Jesus. Geographically, they were at
the north end and the lake was no more than four miles across. The
disciples had rowed three or three and a half miles. So they were
almost at the shore of Capernaum. They almost hugged the shore of the
land. But at the end of their rowing, a strong wind began to blow and
the water grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half
miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat walking on the water; and
they were terrified. They were even more terrified because they saw
Jesus as a ghost (Mk 6:47b). At this point, the disciples did not have
spiritual insight to see that Jesus is the Son of God.
We cannot forget the story of a four-star Admiral, Admiral Boorda.
When he was 16, his parents' marriage was troubled. So he came to the
conclusion that, "reducing the amount of pain I suffered every day was
important to me." In the initial stage of his parents' divorce, he was
deeply wounded and rejected by them. He was 16, but he joined the navy,
telling a lie that he was 18. According to Newsweek magazine, he was a
very disciplined and friendly person. Even though he was a four-star
admiral, remembering his own sailor's time he was like a friend to the
sailor class of navy people. So he was known as the friend of sailors.
He joined the Vietnam War two times and received many medals. Newsweek
magazine dug out whether or not he had the privilege of wearing the
highest two medals. Then his pride was greatly hurt. He thought he was
an exemplary four-star admiral. But the journalists began to
investigate him. His storm of life was a sense of rejection. He felt a
sense of rejection caused by his parents' divorce. And suddenly he felt
that his loyalty was rejected. It was Satan's prank. Anyway, he
committed suicide by shooting his gun at where the medals decorated
him. His problem was not a sense of rejection; his problem was that he
did not live for the glory of God.
The best example might be our ancestor of faith, Jacob. Jacob wanted
to be somebody. So he cheated and took away the birthright of his
older brother. Thus he became the older brother to his older brother.
Because of this, he had to be a wanderer. He stayed at his Uncle
Laban's house and worked for 14 years for a wife, Rachel, and for
himself another 6 years. Finally, God helped him to have four wives
and eleven sons and one daughter and two huge groups of animals. But he
had a great anxiety. His storm of life was meeting his older brother
Esau. He thought Esau would kill him and all his children and animals.
This anxiety had been his storm of life for the last 20 years. Jacob
lived in this storm because he did not believe the promise of God given
to him at Bethel.
Mencius (390-305 B.C.) said, "If heaven wants to use a man greatly
in human history, heaven distresses his heart unbearably and almost
melts his bones. Heaven makes his body experience hunger and the
continuation of a poor life. Heaven also frustrates whatever he does.
In this way, heaven makes him unlimitedly patient and produces noble
character in a man." As Mencius said, many people wanted to be great
and wanted to be somebodies in the world. According to Mencius,
Admiral Boorda could become somebody in the world. But Admiral Boorda
could not overcome his storm of life.
II. The storm of life with Jesus (20-21)
First, "It is I; don't be afraid." Look at verses 19-20. "When they had
rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the
boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But he said to
them, 'It is I; don't be afraid.'" After prayer, Jesus came to his
disciples, walking on the water. The disciples were struggling to save
themselves from the turmoil of the lake water. They were terrified at
first. But realizing that it was Jesus, they welcomed him. Verse 21
says, "Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and
immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading." The
disciples did not see Jesus as a ghost anymore (Mk 6:47). They
acknowledged that Jesus who walked on the water was their master. So
they were happy and welcomed him. Immediately, the boat reached the
shore where they were heading. This event shows us that they were in
the storm of the sea and were struggling to row and row, not to perish
in the lake water. Right before reaching the shore of Capernaum, the
storm of the sea was their storm training in order to become the future
disciples of Jesus. They needed this kind of training. With their own
strength they were only perishing. But when they welcomed Jesus,
everything went well. We cannot escape the storm of life. At the time
of a storm of life, we must hear Jesus' voice, "It is I; don't be
Second, those who overcame the storm of life in Jesus. When Jesus began
his earthly messianic ministry, he was mainly healing the sick and
preaching the kingdom of God. And at the same time, from the beginning,
he chose his disciples as future leaders and successors of his
There was a man called Levi the tax collector. He was in the storm
of life because of his blind selfishness. At that time, the Israelites
were under the rule of the Roman Empire. The Israelites were suffering
and bleeding. They had to pay taxes, as much as Roman authority
demanded, when they had no income at all. The suffering of the people
of Israel was more than one can say. In this situation, the people of
Israel tried to keep their identity as a chosen people. But one young
man named Levi became a tax collector and extorted money from his own
suffering people. He became a puppet of the Roman Empire. He also
became rich by extorting tax money. He gave 40% to the Roman
government, and kept 60% in his pocket. His people called him
"quisling." After making money, he found that money could not make man
happy. What was worse, people were all running away from him. He was
always by himself, because people were disgusted to be around him. His
wife had run away a long time ago. His children had all disappeared. So
he spent his time mostly in his tax booth, because of his selfishness.
Because of his selfishness, he became a lonely man. Lonely men are
comparable to a man with leprosy. Human beings are social animals. This
is the reason those who do not have family members buy a dog and name
it "Mike" or "Caesar" and live with it. When Levi regretted his
wrongdoings, it was too late. He was about to commit suicide by
starving to death because he could not eat due to his upset stomach.
Then Jesus visited him and commanded him, "Follow me." When he was
selfish, he was a suicide candidate. But when he was with Jesus, he
became the teacher of all human beings who have ever lived. His storm
of life was a lonely life, which tempted him to commit suicide. But
when Jesus was with him, he overcame his storm of life and became a
great servant of God.
Let's think about Mark. Mark was not a disciple of Jesus. He was a
city man, and a man from a well-to-do family. So he was an intellectual
hedonist. He loved the truth but could not practice it. He wanted to
commit his life in God, but he always did something undesirable. Once,
he was a disciple of Paul during the time of Paul's missionary journey.
Journey means travel. The word "travel" came from the word "trouble."
Paul's journey was full of hardships and sufferings. So Mark left Paul
in Perga in Pamphylia to return to Jerusalem where his mommy was (Ac
13:13). He was a man of uncommitment. He was literally an intellectual
hedonist. He wanted to do many good things each day. But to the
contrary, he was directed by his own sinful desires. He was like a
spoiled boy from a rich family. But he met Peter and learned how to
serve God from Peter. His life was changed from an intellectual
hedonist to a servant of Jesus Christ. His storm of life was his
intellectual hedonism. But he wrote Mark's gospel, which is the
shortest but includes the most events. We call his gospel the standard
gospel. In his gospel he emphasized that Jesus is the servant (Mk
10:45). In the storm of life of his intellectual hedonism he came to
God. He became the most beautiful servant of Jesus Christ. He
summarized the life of Jesus in Mark 10:45, "For even the Son of Man
did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a
ransom for many."
Luke was a Gentile. He was not one of Jesus' twelve disciples. He
was a physician and historian. He was introduced to Jesus by St. Paul.
He lived as a personal physician to St. Paul. He was with St. Paul
when he was in a Roman prison. He was also a secretary to St. Paul.
Luke's gospel describes the perfect man and perfect God, Jesus. Luke's
gospel explains why Jesus is the Savior of the world. Gentiles were
mostly eating and drinking, and died when they were old. Luke's storm
of life was meaninglessness. But in his storm of meaninglessness, he
was saved when he met Jesus through Paul.
John was one of Jesus' disciples. John and James were brothers and
sons of one mother. They were fishermen. But they were very ambitious,
and fire was burning in their hearts. Once, Jesus was passing by the
people of Samaria. The people of Samaria didn't accept Jesus and his
company. Then John asked Jesus, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down
from heaven to destroy them?" (Lk 9:54) John also persuaded his mother
to help them obtain the seats of Prime Minister in the messianic
kingdom he thought Jesus would establish (Mt 20:20). He was a
politically-minded person. In short, he was a very harmful person and a
first-class liar. But he was changed after the crucifixion of Jesus
Christ and his resurrection. His storm of life was political ambition.
When he was changed, he could see the divinity of Jesus. He also saw
the broken shepherd heart of Jesus. So he described Jesus in John
10:11. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life
for the sheep." He also received eternal life from Jesus and said in
John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only
Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal
life." Such a corrupted, politically-minded John was changed into a
most excellent spiritual man who wrote John's gospel.
It seems to be boring to write about saintly men only. Let me tell
you the story of a beautiful woman. There was a little girl who looked
like a Sharon Rose. She was loved by all her village people, even by
many barking dogs. The village people all wanted to have sons. But
since a girl like a Sharon Rose was born and grew among them, they all
wanted to have daughters. But one day, something bad happened to her.
Suddenly she became blind. She was no more a beautiful Sharon Rose to
the village people. Her two eyes seemed to be only holes to shed many
tears because of her sorrows in being a blind woman. One day she heard
the story of Jesus from her mother. Her mother told her that Jesus is
the one and only Son of God, but he came to this world to become the
Lamb of God to die on a cross for the sin of the world. Then she saw
the light of life. After that, she began to write hymn songs. There are
several tens of thousands of hymns. But her hymns have been most widely
accepted. Among them, "I am thine, O Lord, I have heard thy voice, And
it told thy love to me," is the most famous. Her storm of life was her
sudden blindness. But when she was with Jesus, she became a hymn
Thank God who gave the disciples storm training on the way to a
vacation spot. We don't know if they had a good vacation after storm
training. But God wants us to receive storm training and become changed
servants of God.