Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly, a great tempest arose on the sea so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Matthew 8:23-27)
Trusting Jesus In The Storm
Traveling by boat was a quick way to cross the Sea of Galilee, but it came with its danger. Sudden squalls would appear without warning causing the sea to boil like a cauldron. Winds from deep gullies on the eastern side of the lake came crashing down upon the small boats common at that time. Waves crashed over the decks filling the ship with water. In a violent storm, the boat would be battered about, creating peril in the hearts of its occupants. It was a harrowing experience for the seasoned boatsman.
A storm suddenly came upon the boat where Jesus and His disciples had entered to cross the sea. At least four of the disciples were veterans of the sea from their days fishing with their fathers. This storm brought fear to their hearts and greater fear to the remaining disciples. Buckets were furiously filled with water from the boat as the men sought to keep their ship afloat. Peter, Andrew, James, and John worked hard against the wind and the water. The storm continued beating against the small boat filling it with water. Fear gripped the disciples as they thought they were going to die. After Jesus and His disciples entered the ship and began their journey, the Lord lay down and fell fast asleep. As the storm raged and the disciples frantically tried to save the boat, Jesus continued to sleep. Finally, in desperation, the men came to Jesus and woke Him. They feared dying and knew they would all perish from the storm.
Faith comes in many forms. The disciples had entered the boat with Jesus as followers and disciples. It was a beautiful day and the sea was probably a gem of sparkling, clear water with the smell of the sea filling the lungs of the men. Jesus told His disciples He would rest on the journey and lay down, falling fast asleep. As the ship continued its eastern course, suddenly, the clouds turned black and the wind blasted across the water in a violent storm. Quickly, the ship was in peril. The disciples worked hard against the storm, but it seemed useless. As the men fought the storm, no one seemed to take notice that Jesus remained asleep. Their Lord had not risen to help the men but enjoyed his slumber and rest.
In a final act of desperation, the men wake Jesus from His sleep begging Him to save them. That should have told them something. Why could Jesus sleep through such a violent storm? The disciples should have remembered what they had seen from Jesus before this day. Jesus had healed all kinds of sicknesses and diseases among the people. This included the demon-possessed, the lame, blind, deaf, and dumb. Lepers were healed. A young girl was raised from the dead as well as the widow’s son in Nain. Jesus had given the power of God to the twelve to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons. Why would a storm on the Sea of Galilee bring fear to anyone who knew the power of Jesus? If Jesus slept, there was nothing to worry about because the Son of God could calm the storm – and He did.
The wind and the wave obeyed Jesus because He was the Son of God. There was nothing that any man should fear when they are with Jesus. The disciples had to wake Jesus to calm the storm. If faith had been as courageous as it should have been, the men would realize that if Jesus were asleep, there was no danger of perishing. They could let the winds and waves batter the ship, but with Jesus, there was nothing to fear.
Life can be like a storm on the Sea of Galilee. The lifeboats that traverse the great sea of life face sudden and unexpected storms. Fear fills the heart as the fierceness of life’s challenges seems to overwhelm the most skilled boatsman. Hope is found when one looks to Jesus and sees that He is not afraid, so why should the disciple. The difference now is that Jesus is not asleep. He is fully aware of the struggles and seeks to comfort the child before calming the storm. Some storms bring death, but that is not to be feared either. Paul said that death is being asleep in Jesus. It is then that Jesus wakes the faithful disciple in eternity and says, “Welcome home.” Do not fear. Have faith. He who calmed the storm now reigns.