“Why are you so afraid? Why don’t you have faith?” (Mark 4:40)

The essence of Jesus' statement to his disciples rests with the word "faith" - translated from the Greek word πίστις (pistis), which means "conviction of the truth of anything, belief" but also "the character of one who can be relied on."

Is Jesus talking about trust?

Yes, Jesus is not speaking about believing in him because he was sitting in the boat with them: Certainly, they believed that Jesus existed. And Jesus was not speaking of believing in the existence of God because all his students believed in God's existence.

Rather, Jesus was speaking to them about trusting that the Supreme Being would take care of them. Why else would this be related to the boat and the storm? They were afraid the storm would capsize the boat and they would drown.

But if the Supreme Being was watching over them and caring for them, they would have nothing to fear, because they would be putting their trust in the Supreme Being.

This is the core of Jesus' teachings. It lies at the heart of Jesus' own relationship with God, and the relationship that he wanted his students to have with the Supreme Being.

Jesus confirms this type of relationship with the Supreme Being elsewhere:
“Put your trust in God.” (John 11:22)
Jesus wants his students to also trust in the Supreme Being.

We can also see another glimpse of the intimate relationship between Jesus and the Supreme Being in these statements, by the fact that Jesus is speaking of pleasing God. Jesus wants to please the Supreme Being rather than please himself.

Is this called love?

When a person wants to please someone else more than they want to please themselves, they are loving that person. This is a loving relationship. Jesus was involved in a loving relationship with the Supreme Being.

And such a loving relationship also contains the element of trust. Jesus trusts the Supreme Being. He trusts that God loves him and cares for him.

This is why Jesus was willing to allow himself to be arrested as well. Jesus could have run off into the night and avoided being arrested and persecuted. But he trusted God. He relied upon God. And he wanted to please God.

Where is there real trust to be found here in the physical world? Yet we each need to trust someone. This is why people will trust their spouse or family members or friends and be constantly let down. The epitome of this is being told by one's parents that "I will always be here for you." Then their bodies die at some point and they are no longer "here for you."

Because this is a temporary world in which we have no control, people in this world are basically untrustworthy. Yet we continue to trust them.

This is because we need to trust. It is part of our makeup. We were created by the Supreme Being with an inherent trust for Him. We were created to rely upon the Supreme Being. But because trust is connected to love, and love requires freedom, the Supreme Being also gave us the freedom to love and trust Him or not.

And those who decided not to trust and love Him - deciding to trust ourselves - fell to the physical world and took on these physical bodies in order to be free from Him.

But even though we are now away from Him - trusting in these temporary physical bodies which are dying, and trusting in others who constantly let us down - we can still return to our relationship with Him. Yes, He loves us and will take us back because He knows we can only be fulfilled when we are relying on Him.

Jesus is thus inviting his students - and all of us - to come to trust and love the Supreme Being. This is why Jesus' most important teaching was:
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)