Jesus Calms the Storm (Luke 8:22-25)
We allow our circumstances to dictate the state of our faith rather than trusting in the person and work of our Savior.
Similar to the scene in Jonah, but the parallels are probably little more than coincidental with accounts of a stormy sea.
Jesus has been teaching in parables about the importance of how we hear and respond to God’s Word.
Read Luke 8:22-25.
I. The Fear of the Disciples
The “Mills Fire” – In comparison to the Camp Fire that has destroyed more structures than any other fire in California’s history, left 76 dead (so far), 1,300 people are still unaccounted for. The threat I was under the threat of those fighting the Camp Fire are incomparable.
I don’t believe these disciples (many of whom were quite familiar with the dangers of the stormy sea) were exaggerating the danger they were in. Storms could stir suddenly on the Sea of Galilee because of the wind sweeping down the surrounding mountains. Many lives had been lost due to storms like this on the Sea of Galilee.
Luke indicates they were in danger as the boat was being swamped. This isn’t apparent or perceived danger, but a real threat to the loss of life. They thought they were on the brink of death (Ps.9). “We are perishing!” As the experts on the sea, they look to Jesus. Apparently, they had come to the end of options.
Their fear seems excusable. We understand when people experience anxiety and worry. We know, if we were on that boat, we would have been filled with just as much dread.
What have you done in settings like these? I’m not talking about threats from nature, but any kind of situation that feels outside of your control. Do you feel the need to bring your situation to God’s attention as if he’s sleeping? Do you question his absence and doubt his love?
Bock, “Had they understood God’s care, they would have realized that divine care never takes a break, even when it leads into rough waters.”
Hendriksen, “It is comforting to know that an outcry of human distress awakens the One whom a most violent storm cannot awaken.”
The mystery is how Jesus could sleep through it all.
II. The Peace of Jesus
Don’t miss the acknowledgement by Luke of Jesus’s utter exhaustion.
When Jesus’s disciples were fearing the loss of life, Jesus was in perfect peace. The threat of the storm had no effect on his calm.
Jesus is intimately connected to the world he created (Col. 1:15-20).
Horatio Spafford lost four daughters when the ocean liner they were on sank in the Atlantic. He received a message from his wife that read, “Saved alone.” In response to this tragedy, Spafford penned the hymn “It Is Well”:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll – Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.
Horatio was able to enjoy the peace of God despite the storm that overwhelmed him.
Jesus was also able to remain calm because he knew it was not his time to die. That escalates the state of things in Gethsemane. He experienced a much greater degree of emotional pressure there. He was not worried about physical death, but it was the wrath of God being poured out upon him as he hung from the cross that filled him with trembling dread.
III. The Power of Jesus
After rebuking the wind and waves, Jesus questions the faith of his disciples.
Their understanding of his power was magnified. The Son’s power to heal had already been witnessed, but his power over the weather is on full display in this text.
But only God can rule the sea (Ps. 89:8-9; 107:28-30). We might expect Jesus to gather with the disciples to cry out to God for safety and calm. But Jesus doesn’t do that. He deals with the wind and the waves directly. We understand his purpose in revealing more of his power to his disciples.
However, despite the genuine threat they were in, Jesus does chastise them for their lack of faith. Maybe you wonder why Jesus isn’t more understanding. Let’s make a few things clear about what Jesus does in this passage:
- He accommodates them. He calms the storm.
- He doesn’t reject them because their faith was weak.
- He raises their view of his power and authority.
They had allowed their circumstances to determine their level of faith. The danger of the storm spoke louder than Jesus’s calm. He doesn’t leave them where he found them. He calls them to a deeper-rooted faith that isn’t so easily shaken like the boat they were in.
There response was fear. In fact, R.C. Sproul suggests they were in greater fear now. Because Jesus had just proved that he was God. They were in the very presence of the Holy God.
The strength of our faith does not come from the whiteness of our knuckles, but the object upon which we cling.
What is the state of my faith right now? Is my answer based upon my present circumstances or the person and work of my Savior?
As the author and finisher or our faith (Heb. 12:2) Jesus Christ will safely bring us home (John 14:18-19). We can walk with confidence through the valley of the shadow of death, fearing no evil (Ps. 23). Why? Because God is with us! He knows what we are going through and he is watching over us.