Calming the Storm
Bible Background: The story of the disciples, in the boat, with Jesus asleep, is found in Matthew 8, Mark 4, and Luke 8. In each account, it’s a story that reveals the power of Jesus’ presence, and how we’re invited to trust in his power and presence.
Digging Deeper: 1. In each Gospel, this scene takes place rather early in Jesus’ ministry. He’s shown the power to heal and teach. Where he goes he attracts crowds. People are in awe of him. This is where the 12 disciples get a ‘close encounter’ with Jesus. They will have an ‘epiphany’!
2. Lake Galilee is known for sudden storms cropping up. So it’s not a surprise that in a small boat, the disciples could be in danger. While they panic, Jesus sleeps! When they wake him, they ask “Save us!” “Don’t you care that we are perishing?” Of course, Jesus cares-and is not panicking! He commands the winds and the waves to be still.
3. This throws the disciples into another kind of panic! The Greek that Mark uses is a word that means “great fear”, but it’s usually toned down by translates to “great awe.” Pastor David Lose poses the question: “Do you think the disciples were more fearful during the storm? Or after it was over?” Why would they be afraid after? Well, because they find themselves in the presence of God. They understand that if Jesus has power over the wind and the waves (creation), he must be God! And they were taught to tremble in the presence of God!
4. A little noted piece of this story is why they get into the boat in the first place. Mark & Luke report Jesus saying “Let us go over to the other side (of the lake)”. They aren’t on a pleasure cruise! They’re on a mission. And on that other side of the lake are 2 demon possessed men, living among the tombs. That region also needs to experience the healing power of Jesus. So that next scene also reveals the power of Jesus, and the determination of Jesus to bring light and hope to desperate people and places.
5. Sometimes this story is treated like an allegory: as in, life is like a boat ride; you’ll encounter storms; you may encounter fear and danger; but Jesus is with us always; trust Jesus! There’s truth to that, of course, but what else might be going on here? Maybe that following Jesus is risky business? There are places to go we might not choose to go to? There are people who need Jesus and Good News on ‘the other side! We’re on a mission!