And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
(Matthew 8:23-27 ESV)
As we’ve seen, Jesus was constantly surrounded by people and had very little time for himself, even for sleep. In today’s passage He attempts to get some sleep in a boat as He and his disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee. But while en route, there arose a great storm so that the boat was being swamped by the waves.
The original Greek word for “swamped” means “hidden”. The waves were so high that the boat was hidden in the troughs. The disciples were afraid. This is interesting because at least four of them were experienced fisherman. This storm must have been unusually violent to frighten these men.
Violent storms are not unusual on the Sea of Galilee. This sea sits almost 700 feet below sea level. On the west side are mountains and ravines. When cold air comes down the mountains it speeds up, causing storms with high waves on the sea.
The storm raged all around Jesus yet, in contrast, He was peacefully at rest. He was asleep. Here we see Jesus’ humanity.
Jesus had previously told His disciples that they were all going to go to the other side of the lake [Matthew 8:18]. There was, therefore, no reason for them to worry. If Jesus said they were going to the other side of the lake then they were going to the other side of the lake. No storm would prevent them.
This scene paints a perfect picture of God. No matter what is going on in our lives, He is not worried. He never wonders what will happen. He is always in control. This is a great lesson, especially for us living today. We look around us and see sin running rampant. We see terrorism on the rise. We see Christians in Syria and other parts of the world being killed by the hundreds. We watch this and think our world is out of control. When compared to our limited strength and understanding, it is. But God is still in heaven, sitting on His throne, in complete control of all the chaos we’ve created [Daniel 7:1-10].
Of course, this is not only true globally. It is also true individually. No matter what we are going through, if we have Jesus there is no reason to fear. We may have lost our job. Our spouse may have left us. Our kids may be having problems. None of these storms in our life can, or will, stop God’s plan for our lives.
The disciples believed there were perishing. Jesus told them if they had faith they would not be afraid. He then rebuked the winds and the sea and there was a great calm. Here we see Jesus’ divinity.
We can have fear or faith, but not both. To have proper faith we need to realize who Jesus is. At this point the disciples didn’t understand who Jesus was. If they had, they would have had more faith and they would not have been afraid.
We can tell how much faith we have by the amount of fear we have. The more faith, the less fear. The less faith, the more fear.
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