When the prophet Jonah disobediently boarded a boat to run away, “the Lord threw a great wind onto the sea, and such a great storm arose on the sea that the ship threatened to break apart... Jonah had gone down to the lowest part of the vessel and had stretched out and fallen into a deep sleep” (Jonah 1:4–5).
Remember that? God took the initiative by sending the storm. He wanted to wake Jonah up, to get his attention, to redirect his affections. Unlike Jonah, Jesus, who also slept through the storm, didn’t need a wake-up call. He knew what His Father was doing.
But ponder this: Did the disciples need a nudge? Did God send the storm onto the Sea of Galilee to get the attention of His young disciples, to teach them an important lesson? I think so. I suspect that the All-Powerful, All-Knowing, Sovereign God whipped up the winds and the waves for His providential purposes.
Jesus and His closest disciples were headed to the eastern side of the Sea. Peter, Andrew, James and John were professional fishermen who were raised on the water. They knew the cool dry air could rush down the hills and ravines into the moist warm air above Galilee causing a nasty storm to develop. They had witnessed plenty of storms. This storm may have been the worst they had ever seen.
Matthew wrote, “Suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea” (Matthew 8:24). Mark recorded, “A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped” (Mark 4:37) and Luke called it a “fierce windstorm”(Luke 8:23).
What do you do if you’re miles from shore, the wind is howling, your boat is being swamped by the pounding waves, and you’re sure you’re about to die? The disciples, including the professional fishermen, went to Jesus! “So the disciples came and woke him up, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to die!’ ” (Matthew 8:25). “Master, Master, we’re going to die!”(Luke 8:24). They were scared, so they went to Jesus.
Jesus “got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Silence! Be still!’ The wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39). The sea turned to glass. The wind ceased, leaving utter stillness. One second it was stormy, and the next second, the boat sat motionless on the water and the sails fell limp. Absolute tranquility, there was not the slightest sound, only utter quiet.
It was probably Peter who spoke first. “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!” (Matthew 8:27).
The disciples had been eyewitnesses when Jesus “had healed many, all who had diseases”and freed others tormented by demonic, “unclean spirits” (Mark 3:10–11). But did He also have complete authority over the storms and the sea? Both “fearful and amazed” (Luke 8:25), the fledgling disciples tried to comprehend the magnitude of their Master’s power.
Are you riding out a storm? Are you scared? Go to Jesus. In the roaring tempest, Jesus is near.
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.