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The Sea of Galilee, a medium-sized fresh-water lake, is eight miles from east to west. It’s thirteen miles from north to south. The Jordan River flows into Galilee on the north and it flows out of Galilee at the south. The lake sets deep in a bowl, surrounded by hills on every side. What’s most unique about the Sea of Galilee is this: the surface of the lake is about seven hundred feet below sea-level.

Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishermen. They had grown up fishing on Galilee. Their fathers and grandfathers had been professional fishermen. When their families gathered, the older generations probably regaled the younger ones with epic tales of deadly storms. “Waves as tall as a tree!” ... “The wind blew hard enough to strip the hide off a donkey!”

Jesus had been teaching. When “evening had come, he told them, ‘Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea’ ” (Mark 4:35, CSB). So, they piled into the USS Zebedee, and off they went.

Mark says, “a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped” (Mark 4:37, CSB). Matthew declares, “suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea” (Matthew 8:24, CSB). Luke adds, “a fierce windstorm came down on the lake; they were being swamped and were in danger” (Luke 8:23, CSB).

Tradition says that Mark’s Gospel was written primarily from Peter’s perspective. Mark reports that Jesus “was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?’ ” (Mark 4:38, CSB). That must have been how Peter remembered it. He recalled being certain that they were going to die! It was a category 6 hurricane!

And Jesus... asleep in the storm?

Matthew was probably in the boat that day. He was not a fisherman. He hadn’t been born in a rowboat. I suspect, if Peter was scared, then Matthew was terrified-times-ten! He wrote, we “woke him up, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to die!’ He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, you of little faith?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm” (Matthew 8:25-26, CSB).

“Simmer-down! ... Knock it off! ... Be still!” Jesus spoke to the wind and the waves.

Think about it. He spoke to the darkness, saying, “Let there be light!” (Genesis 1:3). He just spoke. And it was so. The universe obeys His command!

Peter remembered, we “were terrified and asked one another, ‘Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!’ ” (Mark 4:41, CSB). What did he mean? Were they terrified of the wind, or were they terrified of the One who commanded to wind and waves? Maybe both!

Are you in a storm? No wind, no waves... but a storm. Corona Virus. Pink slip. A troubling diagnosis. A negative bank balance. A rocky relationship. A storm.

Here’s hope. Jesus is in the boat with you! Sometimes Jesus stops the storm. Sometimes He rides the waves with you! He always brings peace!

South Georgia Baptist Church

Amarillo, Texas

Mike Martin, Pastor


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