“And the men marvelled, saying “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”” Matthew 8:27.
The disciples and Jesus were on a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee when in the middle of the night a “great storm” hits. The disciples are petrified. They think this is it. And remember, there were several fishermen among the disciples. They would have been well experienced with sailing in rough waters. So when the storm was enough to terrify them we know it must have been severe. They knew all too well of other fishermen who had been caught out in the freak storms that were prone to hit the Sea of Galilee.
The word translated as storm is seismos in the original Greek, which literally means earthquake – this was a powerful, mighty storm. You can understand why the disciples were so afraid.
But Jesus doesn’t understand why the disciples were so afraid. He had been asleep, and they had to wake Him. He says “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26) and then turns to the winds and seas, rebukes them and instantly there is calm. Such is the authority of Jesus – even the winds and sea obeys Him.
There are several lessons for us here. The first is that we need to learn to trust Jesus in the midst of the storms of life. He has the authority to tell the waves to be still. He has authority over all things in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18) and He alone has the power to calm the storms. By themselves the disciples could do nothing to calm the storm. But they survived because they knew the One with authority.
Next see that in the Kingdom life storms should not be unexpected. Just because we are living for Jesus does not mean that storms will not come our way – indeed it may expose us to more storms as the devil tries desperately to derail the establishment of the Kingdom. The disciples had Jesus on the boat with them, and they still experienced the storm. But Jesus was with them through the storm, and He remains with us through the storms we face. And He has the authority to bring us through the storms. He is the anchor our souls can rest in, keeping us held firmly in the grip of the Kingdom throughout the storms of earthly life, held secure in the mighty victorious right hand of God.
We also see that the advancement of the Kingdom brings order out of chaos. In Jewish writings seas, and in particular storms, represented chaos. So Matthew intentionally includes this passage to show that Jesus in calming the storms has the authority to bring order out of the chaos we see around us, and that as we see the spread of the Kingdom we look forward to a day when all chaos will be transformed into perfected order – a day when the waves are still and the storms come no more. But until that day we have the promise that Jesus is with us always (Matthew 28:20), through the calm and through the storm, and He has full authority over any storm we may face.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, and you are mine. When you pass through waters, I will be with you; and through rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour” Isaiah 41:1-3
- When storms come what is your response?
- What storms are you facing now/recently?
- What hope can we have in the midst of storms?