Calming the Storm

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Matthew 8:23-27

In the last section, Jesus denied the anonymous disciple’s request to go and bury his father, then they went into the boats to cross the Sea of Galilee; the timing of this is no coincidence. As so often happens in that region, a storm came upon the Sea of Galilee very suddenly, they were awash in the winds and waves, but Jesus was sleeping, at peace.

His disciples, including several professional fishermen who knew these waters well, became alarmed; they were in a precarious situation. They awakened Jesus asking for Him to “do something”. His reply is telling: “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”  If I try to imagine myself in the disciples’ shoes here, Jesus seems a bit out of touch with the perils of the moment; the disciples’ fears seem entirely rational to me… but from Jesus’ point of view, they seem almost silly. Jesus was the very coming of the Kingdom of Heaven, He is on official “God business”, God’s own Son, and so are the disciples; is God going to allow a storm to destroy His eternal plans?

Not a chance.

Jesus essentially tells the storm to knock it off, and the storm abates; the winds and waves are calm once again… and the disciples are blown away.

Let’s regroup:

  1. Jesus told the disciple to “let the dead bury their own dead” and didn’t allow him to take time off for the burial.
  2. They took to the boats to cross the Sea, and when the disciples were afraid of a sudden storm, they found Jesus sleeping through it peacefully.
  3. When awakened by the frantic disciples, Jesus asks them why they were afraid, and tells the storm to abate.
  4. The disciples wonder just who and what this Jesus is.

With these material facts, we can ascertain the following:

  1. The disciples’ lack of faith came from the fact that they didn’t comprehend who and what Jesus was, and as a consequence, they didn’t comprehend what sort of mission they were part of.
  2. That disciple who wanted to bury his father was in a storm of a different kind, a storm socially, for he wasn’t doing his earthly duty as a son. I can only imagine what the folks back home were saying about him running off with this Jesus guy. Thus, I’m guessing that at that precise moment, his mind was in a bit of turmoil, yet Jesus, who completely understood the larger picture, was entirely at peace.
  3. The storm on the lake illustrates a much larger reality for those of us who read this account, for it not only was a literal meteorological event; it illustrates the storms of this life.

Therefore, as followers of Jesus, we can weather even the most furious of storms by placing our lives fully in God’s hands, as Jesus was doing, secure in the knowledge that as we serve Him, God will see us through to accomplish His perfect will in spite of the cost or social consequences.

The real question for us is this: Will we trust God with our lives or will we be battered about by the storms of life?


About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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6 Responses to Calming the Storm

  1. Pingback: Calming the Storm | A disciple's study

  2. Pingback: Calming the Storm | Refreshment UK

  3. This is one of my favorite stories. I envision the disciples clinging together, whispering, “Who the heck IS this guy???” This incident may have been the switch that turned on the light bulb (if dimly) for many of them.

  4. katetacie says:

    Hello Don, this is Luella of “learningtobeason”. You read and respond to my blogs regularly which encourages me! I love this “storm” story too. Storms are part of life, unfortunately, and we can’t escape them. We bring some of them on ourselves, like Jonah did, and some come from God, like Job’s storm, and some just happen as part of life. The outcome is always the same. If we keep facing the right way, towards God and not away from Him, we will surely fly right through to the eye of the storm where there is perfect peace and calm. That’s what I found, anyway.

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