All three Synoptic Gospels describe Jesus calming a raging storm while with His disciples. Jesus needed a rest from teaching the crowds near the Sea of Galilee. He decided to take a boat with His disciples to the opposite shore (Mark 4:35–36). Once on the boat, Jesus fell asleep, and a treacherous storm arose (Luke 8:23).
How is Jesus calming the storm significant?
In this story, we see the true human nature of Jesus Christ. He was so exhausted that sleeping on a boat tossed between the waves could not wake Him up (Matthew 8:24). This shows that Jesus had a need for rest and time away from people, and experienced tiredness just as we experience tiredness. It is important to understand Christ's human nature because it qualifies Him as the mediator, or one who can stand between, for us and our Heavenly God (Hebrews 2:17). He acts as our intercessor in prayer and in salvation.
The Sea of Galilee was known for its spontaneous, raging storms. We know that some of the disciples, at least four, were professional fishermen and made their living on the water. Professional fishermen would know how to react to a sudden storm if they spent their lives in the occupation. We can gauge the storm by how frightened these fishermen were. They even thought they would die! (Luke 8:24). The boat filled with water, it crashed against the powerful waves, and yet Jesus slept at the stern (Mark 4:37–38). He slept peacefully and restfully because He knew that God was with Him. Proverbs 3:24 and Psalm 4:8 teach that the sleep of a believer is peaceful because he or she knows that God is near. Jesus was awoken by His disciples and rebuked them, asking them if they had any faith (Mark 4:40).
This story is an example of how Jesus' disciples were just like you and me. They saw Jesus perform countless miracles and walked with Him day to day, but they still found it hard to believe that Christ would not let them drown. When Jesus rebuked their lack of faith, by extension He also rebuked our lack of faith. We face many storms in our daily lives. The world is sinful and broken, which means that we are bound to experience illness, financial loss, painful relationships, and eventually death (1 Corinthians 15:55). Jesus can calm us during the storms of our lives. He is with us and is happy to bring us peace and comfort.
Knowing that the storm was coming (as God, He is omniscient), Jesus still decided to set off for the other side (Matthew 8:18). God has promised us that He will be with us in the midst of storms. In John 16:33 Jesus said, "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." Storms will come, but we are never alone in the midst of our pain or fear. When we persevere with Christ, we overcome (Deuteronomy 31:8; James 1:12).
Through this story, we see Christ's humanity as well as His deity. Man cannot make the "winds and water obey" (Luke 8:25). The sea obeyed Christ, calming at a quick word from the Lord (Mark 4:39). In the midst of our personal storms, this is comforting and can bring peace to our hearts. We can never misplace our faith when we put it in Christ. When the waters of life appear to loom over us, threatening to crash, we can rest knowing that He is with us and has the ability to bring peace and safety to our lives.
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