The Lord had spent a full and busy day in Capernaum of teaching and healing all the sick that were brought to Him (Matt. 8:5,14,16). It was now evening and the Lord desired to get away from the pressing multitudes and be alone to get some well deserved and much needed rest (Matt. 8:18). He entered into a ship, probably not one the apostles owned (Matt. 8:23), and requested that His apostles take Him to the other side of Lake Gennesaret (Luke 8:22), the Sea of Galilee. His apostles summarily dismissed the multitude and departed quickly without much preparation (Mark 4:36). As they began to sail, Jesus’ exhaustion quickly overcame His body and, as He lay His head upon a pillow, He fell fast asleep in the stern of the ship (Mark 4:38; cf. Psalm 121:4).
Here was the Son of God asleep in the hinder part of the ship on the Sea of Galilee. One might imagine the apostles examining Jesus with their eyes as He slept serenely in the back of the boat, wondering about the nature of this man. But as He slept, a sudden and violent storm arose on the sea of Galilee, as they often do, covering the ship with waves and filling the vessel with water, seemingly jeopardizing their very lives (Matt. 8:24; Luke 8:23).
The situation was dire. The apostles, some of them seasoned, life-long fishermen, were all afraid for their lives. They had done all that they humanly could to save the vessel and their own necks. And in all this turmoil Jesus still lay in the back of the ship, still sleeping. Some of the apostles in their fear turned to in anger to accuse Christ, “Carest Thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38)! Others cried out to the Lord for help. One said “Master, Master we perish” (Luke 8:24). Another cried out “Lord, save us we perish” (Luke 8:24). Jesus never heard the storms but He did hear His apostles cry for help, though they had to come and awake Him from His sleep (Luke 8:24).
When He arose from His rest, He simply rebuked the wind “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39; Matt. 8:26; Luke 8:24). He rebuked the wind and it stopped, demonstrating His power over the forces of nature. Earlier that day, Jesus had demonstrated His power over physical sickness. He healed a Leper (Matt. 8:1-4), the Centurion’s servant (Matt. 8:5-13), Peter’s Mother-in-Law (Matt. 8:14-15) and all that were brought to Him (Matt. 8:16-17).
Later He would demonstrate His power over the supernatural realm when He healed the demoniac (Matt. 8:28-34). The Word that brought the world into existence now simply commands it to be still (Col. 1:17; John 1:1-3; etc.). And there was a great calm (Matt. 8:26; Mark 4:39; Luke 8:24).
But now Jesus had a series of questions for His apostles. “Why are ye so fearful? O ye of little faith? How is it that ye have no faith? Where is your faith? (Matt. 8:26: Mark 4:40; Luke 8:25). To paraphrase: Do you not know Who you are with? Do you not yet understand why I am here? How can ye not know that with Me you are safe? We should always know that when we are with the Lord, we are safe. No matter what may come along, if we are faithful and trust in Him, He will take us across to the safety of Heaven’s shore.
Even though the apostles had been with Jesus, even though they had seen His power, they had not yet been fully persuaded. The apostles still wondered amongst themselves, “What manner of Man is this, that even the wind and sea obey Him!” (Matt. 8:27; Mark 4:41; Luke 8:25)? What manner of Man has such power? No mere man! The great prophet Elijah had to pray to God and ask that the rains stop and then start again (James 5:17). The Lord merely commands the rain and the wind Himself. And they obey. He was no mere man!
In our lives we will face storms. These storms will often appear out of nowhere and threaten our hopes and faith. Storms that will sometimes cause us to worry and maybe even question the Lord. But if we are faithful to Him through it all, Jesus will arise and say “Peace, be still!” And there will be great calm.
Eric L. Padgett