Summary: With all the storms that we confront in life, what is our best response?
Jesus had just finished teaching on the mountain top after several hours. One of his most famous sermons which we now know as the Sermon the Mount. While he was descending he was approached by many people asking questions about his sermon. He was also approached by many who wish to have healing.
Slowly coming down the mountain he turns none away. He answers their questions, many times via a parable. Those with illnesses or injuries he quickly heals. Eventually, he makes his way to Capernaum where he was greeted by a Roman Centurion. The officer calmly comes up to Jesus and asks him to heal a young servant at his home. Jesus tells the Centurion to lead the way. Astonishingly, the Centurion tells Jesus it isn’t really necessary as he, the Centurion, was not worthy enough for Jesus to visit his home. No, the Centurion tells Jesus, just tell me that my servant is healed and I will be satisfied. I know that you have the power and authority to heal my servant. Just tell me my servant is healed and I will leave for I believe and have faith in your word.
I believe and have faith in your word! Such a simple statement, yet so powerful. Even more remarkable is that this is from a soldier of a heathen nation. A nation that believes and worships many gods. A nation that believes their Emperor is a god and worships him too. Jesus rewarded this Centurions simple belief and healed the servant right then and there. The Centurion accepted Jesus’s word the servant was healed without question and returned to his home.
After entering Capernaum Jesus went directly to Peter’s home. Peter’s mother in-law was in bed ill and had a high fever. Calmly, after hearing this Jesus went into her room touched her and she was immediately healed. A bit of humor was inserted in this retelling by Matthew in chapter 8 when he states that the mother in-law immediately got out of bed and began serving Jesus and his disciples a meal.
Although this is a bit humorous it is also instructional. Why? Because the woman had faith in what Jesus did and immediately responded by demonstrating that she was healed by serving the Lord, literally.
So, here is Jesus at Peter’s home. It is late in the day and it had been a very long day with preaching, answering questions and healing many individuals. Yet, outside Peter’s house was a great multitude still demanding Jesus’s attention. When Jesus stepped outside and saw how many people were there he turned to his disciples and told them to head to the lakeshore and prepare a boat for departure.
While the disciples quickly made their way to the lake, Jesus calmly led the multitude that had been waiting outside Peter’s home slowly towards the lakeshore while answering the many questions with a series of parables; The parable of the mustard seed, the parable of the sower, the parable of the light under the blanket.
When he arrived at the boat he was exhausted after such a long day. He had traveled far, spent many hours teaching and healing and he could see that there were still many in need. Yet, he himself needed rest. He directed the disciples to head across the lake towards Gadarene. While the disciples prepared the boat for departure, Jesus walked to the stern, grabbed a pillow and laid down. Soon he was fast asleep.
The first part of the journey across the lake was uneventful, however a sudden squall popped up. Something that is rather common on the Sea of Galilee as it is surrounded by mountains and valleys. The mountains act like a wind tunnel, and when the wind blows down through the valley’s a breeze of five miles per hour could turn into a vicious storm with winds up to 60 miles per hour in a matter of a few minutes.
Apparently this is what happened. The disciples, many of whom were seasoned fishermen, were now confronted by a severe storm. The Bible tells us they were in the middle of the lake. If we take this literally, that means they were two miles from land on their port and starboard sides and a little over 6 miles from their destination in front of them.
As seasoned sailors I am sure they took all the necessary actions to rig the boat for a storm. Meaning they lowered the sails, brought out the oars so they could keep the boat heading into the waves so they would not be swamped. They began bailing the water from the hold over the side so the boat would not sink due to the weight of the water that sluiced over the sides of the boat from the wave activity.