Summary: Jesus is Lord of creation and deserves our wholehearted commitment
22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let’s go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. 24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we’re going to drown!" He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."
I don’t know if you have seen the advert for frozen oven chips ( french fries ) where a little girl is musing over whether she likes her Daddy or chips best of all. Throughout the advert she is thinking aloud, ’Daddy or chips ? Daddy or chips ?’. She is still thinking about this as she has a chip on her fork and her Daddy comes into the room. As he kisses his daughter, he quickly removes the chip from his daughter’s fork and eats it. She then says, in a resigned fashion, ’Chips’.
In today’s reading the disciples have to make a choice of ’Faith or Fear’. Much to Jesus’ disappointment, they choose the latter.
Situated in a basin surrounded by mountains, the Sea of Galilee is particularly susceptible to sudden, violent storms. Cool air from the Mediterranean is drawn down through the narrow mountain passes and clashes with the hot, humid air lying over the lake which is six hundred feet below sea level. This causes the violent winds that churn up the water.
They were undoubtedly in a fishing boat, probably belonging to Simon Peter or James and John. This would have seated about twelve people, with no sails. There were cushions at the stern, which Jesus slept on ( Mark 4:38 ).
Some of the disciples were experienced fishermen. They had weathered some storms, but this one was unexpected. They normally came in the day but we know from Mark’s account that this happened in the evening. It must have been a really ferocious storm too, because they were really frightened.
. In verse 24 they say to Jesus; "Master, Master, we’re going to drown!"
The disciples looked to the immediate; the winds, the waves, and the water coming into the boat. They thought of themselves, "we’re going to drown!"
Their attitude contrasts with that of Jesus. He was asleep after a hard day of teaching his disciples and crowds of people ( Mark 4 ). We might think that it would be difficult to sleep on a boat during a storm. But, after Chloe’s birth three months ago, I have been reminded just how tired one can be and how easy it is to fall asleep !
This is a reminder of our Lord’s humanity. Maybe it also showed his faith in God’s purpose and power.
However, only Matthew’s gospel features an appeal to Jesus to help, 8:25; The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!"
Mark has the disciples rebuking Jesus, 4:38; The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?" This certainly points to a failure of the disciples to appreciate whom they were addressing.
Being afraid is not always a bad thing, it can save us from dangerous situations. When we are in difficult situations being afraid can lead us to trust in something or someone beyond ourselves.
I was shopping in Burtons in the Potteries Centre in Hanley. Standing there was a man with a very sharp haircut, a smart light brown coloured suit, and a superior attitude. I think he was a Regional Manager. Round him were gathered a number of the staff and, when he suggested something, they uncritically enthused about it before rushing to carry out this man’s wishes. Here was a man of authority. An authority given to him by his superiors and one which was recognised and acted upon by those in the shop. He said something and it was agreed with and acted upon immediately.
Jesus said the words, the storm subsided and everything was calm. Last week when we looked at 6:17-26 we looked at Jesus’ authority over illness, evil spirits, and as a teacher. Later in this Chapter Luke shows Jesus’ authority over many demons (v.25 ff.), illness ( v. 44 ), and death ( v.55 ). here we have Jesus’ authority over nature.
Having rebuked the waves, Jesus rebuked his disciples, v.25, "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. Faith can chase out fear, or fear can chase out faith.