Then He (Jesus) got into the boat and His disciples followed Him.
Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake,
so that the waves swept over the boat.
But Jesus was sleeping.
The disciples went and woke Him, saying,
“Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”
Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves,
and it was completely calm.
The men were amazed and asked,
“What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!”
As I read this account of Jesus calming the storm, I realize more is happening than the silencing of the sea. Join me as we dive into a deeper understanding.
Jesus and His disciples were in a boat upon the lake. Suddenly they were encountering a storm. Was this supposed to happen when Jesus was with them? They were no longer safe and secure on the shore. Wave after wave of water crashed over them. Turbulence surrounded them. They thought they would drown. Like the disciples, we encounter stormy experiences. Although we have a personal relationship with Jesus, spiritual storms can splash upon us. We are not exempt from turmoil. Jesus says in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Most likely, the disciples questioned how Jesus could sleep through the storm. When we are in stormy situations, we may feel as if Jesus is unaware of what is happening. In other words, we may think He is sleeping and is indifferent to what we are enduring. This was not Jesus’ message to His disciples. Nor is it His message to us. For the disciples, Jesus was the embodiment of peace in their presence. He was fulfilling Isaiah 9:6 that prophesied He would be called the Prince of Peace. Later Jesus would tell these men, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus spoke peace to the waves. He also revealed the spiritual peace He experienced in spite of the surrounding turbulence. Jesus spoke physical peace to the sea. He experienced and portrayed spiritual peace in His soul.
The disciples knew Jesus well enough that they were willing to call upon Him to calm the storm. Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Today, we can call upon Jesus through prayer to calm our storms of turmoil and trials. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
In verse 26, Jesus addressed the fact that the disciples were reacting more out of fear than faith. Most of us will occasionally be fearful. Jesus knew what the disciples were feeling. And, He knows our feelings. Consequently, there is a multitude of scriptures telling us not to fear. He will help us overcome our fear just as He helped the disciples in their fearful moments. We have the promise of Isaiah 41:10. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. II Timothy 1:7 NLT reminds us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
The men in the boat were Jesus’ closest friends. They knew Him better than anyone. However, the conclusion of this stormy story reveals that the disciples still had more to learn about Jesus. Although they had just experienced His calming the water waves, they still asked, “What kind of man is this?”
No matter how long we have followed Jesus, we can always grow in our relationship with Him. The exclamation of Mark 9:24 is appropriate for us. I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief! Water waves may wash over us. However, we can ask for wisdom waves. Proverbs 2:6 tells us, “For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” When Jesus spoke words to calm the water waves, He was also speaking wisdom waves. May we allow wisdom waves to wash over us today.
This account of Jesus calming the turbulence of a particular storm is more than just His calming water waves. It is about releasing wisdom waves into the disciples’ minds and lives. The body of water in this story is the Sea of Galilee which is the size of a large lake. This is a waterway they would travel many times the remainder of their lives. They needed to know how to navigate these waters. They needed to know how to deal with physical and spiritual waves during the coming days and years.
We, too, will have water waves wash over us – possibly physical, but more likely spiritual. There will be stormy times that suddenly appear even though we have Jesus in our life boats. Wave after wave – we may feel like we could drown in our difficulties. Let’s not stop with this story just giving us information. Let’s allow it to bring transformation in us. When water waves crash upon us, may we plead for wisdom waves. This is how we will experience the peace Jesus extends. Hear and experience Mark 4:39. Then He (Jesus) arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.