The word “rebuke” means to express sharp, stern disapproval of or reprimand something. We often feel rebuked by so many people. We feel like the world is looking down on us and disapproving everything about us – from the things we do to the way we look. We can’t seem to get anything right. We even feel like God disapproves of us.
There’s a story in the Bible where Jesus is out in a boat with his disciples and a crazy storm comes up and tosses the boat all over the place. While this storm is attempting to sink the boat, Jesus is sleeping on a cozy cushion. Panicked, His disciples wake Him, begging Him to help. Rather than grabbing a bucket to help bale out water, Jesus rebukes the storm. He firmly and sharply reprimands the storm.
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!” Mark 4:36-41
How many times have we read that scripture and thought that Jesus rebuked the disciples? How many of us see this scripture as follows: Jesus calms the storm, then turns around and rebukes His disciples for not having faith. Look again, this is NOT what happens. Jesus rebukes the STORM, then after it is calm, Jesus asks his disciples why they still fear.
Jesus didn’t rebuke his disciples for lack of faith or understanding. Nor does He rebuke us for our lack of faith or understanding. God will NOT rebuke us when fear overcomes or our faith withers. He rebukes the storm. Jesus rebukes the pain, the hardship, the suffering, the frustration, trial, sickness, sorrow, stress and anguish we’re going through. He rebukes the storms of our life so, when it is calm, we can hear His voice.
Faith and Fear Cannot Coexist
The first statement Jesus makes to His disciples is a question. He asks them why they are afraid. Fear is the opposite of faith. They cannot exist at the same time. Jesus will rebuke the fear that is preventing us from having faith. He will rebuke whatever it is that produces the fear. He wants our faith to be strong, and He can strengthen the tiniest little bit of faith (Matthew 17:20), but we have to let him. We have to trust Him.
Jesus will calm our storms so we can hear His voice. John talks about how Jesus is the good shepherd and we are His sheep. We know Him and listen to His voice (John 10:27). The storm needed to be calmed so the disciples could hear Jesus. Sometimes our pain, sorrow, sin and frustration needs to be calmed so we can hear His voice. He is guiding us, directing us, speaking to us. He is telling us that He loves us. He is telling us that, through Him, we are strong. He is telling us that He will strengthen our faith. We don’t need to listen over the raging storm, but rather ask God to rebuke the storm so we can hear His still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12).
Even the Winds and Waves Obey
The disciples, totally terrified by what they just witnessed, exclaim, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” The wind and waves obey their maker, and so can we. It’s not always easy, but it is always right. Jesus calms our storms so we can hear His voice, then we can obey what He says. We were created to obey our maker, so listen to His voice and follow what He says. Be amazed and marvel at what God is doing. He is calming our storms and providing calm and peace. Thank Him for the stillness in the storm. Rest in that stillness and put your trust in Him because He alone can calm the wind and the waves.