Summary: Twelfth in a series on "The Miracles of Jesus"
The Miracles of Jesus
Miracle # 12
“Jesus Stills the Storm”
In 1976 Gordon Lightfoot recorded a haunting ballad entitled “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” [1976, Moose Music, Ltd.] The Edmund Fitzgerald was a real ship and Lightfoot’s song is a tribute to the shipwreck and the men who lost their lives.
The Edmund Fitzgerald was a giant ore freighter 729 feet in length and was the largest carrier on the Great Lakes from 1958 until 1971. The Fitzgerald was labeled “the pride of the America Flag.” On November 10, 1975 the Fitzgerald was hauling a heavy load of ore to Detroit, Michigan when it ran into a severe storm. This storm generated 27-30 ft. waves with a following sea. During the evening hours the ship disappeared from radar screens, apparently it sank in a matter of minutes. It now rests on the bottom of Lake Superior broken in two with the bow upright and the stern upside down still loaded with its cargo of ore and all 29 hands.
It is a fact of nature that the inland waters possess a special kind of treachery. Sometimes due to geography the inland water ways are more subject to violent changes of weather.
Although the Sea of Galilee is only 5 miles wide and 13 miles long it has a history of terrible storms. The fact is that the Sea of Galilee is 600 ft. below sea level, and great storms develop when the cold air and warm air meet in this natural basin.
Such a situation was developing as the disciples set out across the Sea of Galilee after
Jesus had finished speaking.
The miracle of stilling the storm is found in all three of the synoptic gospels (synoptic - meaning to see the same way, and refers to Matthew, Mark and Luke, all of which approach the telling of the life Jesus is similar ways.)
“On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side." (36) Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. (37) And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. (38) But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" (39) Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. (40) But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" (41) And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!"
“Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. (24) And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. (25) Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" (26) But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. (27) So the men marveled, saying, "Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"
“Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side of the lake." And they launched out. (23) But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a wind-storm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. (24) And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!"
Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. (25) But He said to them, "Where is your faith?" And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, "Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!"
The Background of the Miracle (Luke 8:22)
“Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side of the lake." And they launched out.”
After a long day of ministry, which had included confrontations with religious leaders and continued with teaching amidst the press of immense crowds, Jesus was exhausted. So as the day drew to a close Jesus having obtained a boat to cross the lake, moved to the stern of the boat where he wearily collapsed into a deep sleep. The disciples in obedience to his command hoisted the sail and began the five mile trip across the lake with a flotilla of admirers in their boats following (Mark v. 36).