22One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they put out, 23and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A windstorm swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. 24They went to him and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. 25He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”
“One day” separates this story from those prior – he has been ministering to the crowds, and teaching them, but “one day” he does something different. This is the first of a series of 4 stories – we’ll see how Luke links them.
So, one day Jesus and the disciples got into a boat on the Sea of Galilee (Luke refers to it as the lake, and it really is a body of fresh water) and decide to go across to the other side. Now, although the Sea of Galilee is fairly small, by our standards, it is subject to sudden, dramatic changes of weather. The Sea sits in a bowl surrounded by hills – but there is a valley, from the Mediterranean down through those hills to the Galilee. Sometimes a wind will come down that valley and create a sudden, violent storm in the usually calm waters. And so, on that day, a sudden storm arose. But Jesus, exhausted from all the crowds and ministry, was asleep. The waves were great, and the little boat was filling with water, and the disciples were terrified. They shook Jesus, shouting, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And Jesus woke up, and looked around, and he stood in the rolling boat and shouted at the wind and waves, “rebuked” them, Luke says. Just as he had rebuked evil spirits that had overwhelmed people, he rebukes the storm. People in ancient days feared bodies of water – believed that they were a source of evil, of chaos. We think of a sudden storm as a combination of wind and current and the forces stored in waves. They thought of a sudden storm as an expression of evil, although Luke acknowledges the wind coming down on the lake as a source of the storm. Jesus rebukes the forces causing the storm – be that evil, or nature. He is more powerful. The storm immediately ceases; the winds cease, the waves calm. Suddenly the boat is sitting on a quiet sea, a gentle breeze stirring the sails.
And Jesus asked the disciples, “Where is your faith?” He was not expecting them to be able to calm the storm – why was he concerned by their fear? They knew Jesus was in the boat with them; why did they not trust him? Why did they not have faith enough to know that whatever happened, if they were with Jesus it would be for the good?
Even when we are with Jesus, we will face storms in life. Sometimes Jesus calms the storms; sometimes he gives us the strength to withstand; and sometimes he meets us on the other side of the storms. Regardless, if we remember to stay in his boat, it will be OK.
The disciples, however, were amazed, asking one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?” We have not yet come to that point where Jesus asks, “Who do the people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?” But when Jesus asks, this event is one the disciples will be remembering.
photo is a boat on the Sea of Galilee