Part 13 - Matthew 8:23-34 - DOES JESUS SLEEP IN YOUR STORMS TOO?
"I got into the boat with the other disciples and we started across the lake. Some Pharisees seemed annoyed and the crowd was disappointed that we were going, but I saw Jonas, a man who had been healed of leprosy placating the crowd and telling them that Jesus was sure to return. I must admit I wondered at Jesus’ reasoning. Why would he leave such a responsive crowd as this. They hung on His every word and despite this, Jesus had requested that we go across the lake. Maybe He just wanted a break. It wasn’t long before the small sail began to bulge with the wind and with the creaking and rocking of the boat, I watched as Jesus fell asleep in the front of the boat. He must have been exhausted.
We had covered some distance when it happened. A fierce storm struck the boat like a savage animal. It came up so suddenly that I lost my footing for a while and stumbled into Peter who was holding onto the mast. The sky seemed immediately ravenous with lightning and growled out a thunderous warning from it’s billowing clouds. It was like the snarling of a rabid dog, hungry to fight. It’s nostrils flared as it lunged at us with it’s biting wind. Within an amazingly short span of time we were in danger of sinking. The turmoil of this storm was building.
After the initial shock of what was happening, I glanced back to the front of the boat to see how Jesus was faring, and was astonished to see that He was still asleep. By this time waves were breaking into the boat and an eerie sense of evil pervaded the sky. The devil was in this storm and it seemed that he was already reaching back with his whip ready to lunge at us again and sink the boat. And Jesus was asleep! What’s more He was peaceful and undisturbed! Could He not tarry with us until this storm was over?
I noticed Matthew and Andrew desperately trying to wake Him and shouting "Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!" And then as Jesus awoke lightning struck somewhere near us and the sky rumbled again, but this time as if in distress. We were all startled and stressed by our predicament.
We experienced fishermen and boatmen were helpless in the midst of such a storm as this, but Jesus still looked tired from being awakened and a little puzzled as He looked around at our faces. He said, "Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!" Apparently He thought WE could do something about the storm!
He hardly noticed the wave that was about to swamp us coming up from behind Him but at that moment the sky seemed to gasp as He turned and I heard a sudden gutteral roar - the sound of a lion recoiling from a spear wound, astonished as it penetrates it’s heart.
The blood began to drain from my face as I saw for a moment the assurance of Jesus gaze and then the stern censure of His voice as He rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly all was calm. A chill ran up and down my spine. I was astonished. I spoke to Peter "Who is this man? Even the winds and waves obey Him!"
It is fairly late as we pull the boat up on the shore and tie it to a rock. The sky is clear and we can hear the water lapping and receding again.
There’s a distinct stale, musty, almost rank smell lingering in the still night air, mixed with the sweet stifling odour of spices. We are near some caves and I realise all of a sudden that we have arrived at the local graveyard.
In the shadows of the night, an eiree silence settles upon us and our footsteps are amplified by the caves. The moon lends a ghostly starkness to each gaping crevice. I flinch as a stone is dislodged from somewhere in the semi darkness ahead of us and I am wide eyed and breathless with fear as a bloodcurdling scream echoes from the rock face! After initially recoiling, all of us are like statues standing with our mouths gaping, staring at the path ahead with fear, except Jesus. Again there is a loud shriek piercing the darkness and shadowy shapes bounding towards us.
Now I don’t know about you but I know where I would be at this time. I would be in the boat and half way back across the lake. Either that or recovering from fainting. After the experience a violent storm, this would be about as much as I could handle.
But Jesus knew what He was doing! He always does. He had just finished giving peace to his discipes troubled by an angry demonic storm. Now He would not be thwarted in giving peace to some troubled men who were in the grip of demonic influence. 1 John 3:8 (NLT) says, "...the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil." Whether we like it or not, we are involved in the same undertaking. Mark 16:17-18 (NLT) says, "These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in My name, ..." In Luke 10:17-20 (NLT) Jesus says to His disciples, "Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, ... Nothing will injure you."
I need to explore this further but this passage reminds me that Jesus is taking me along with Him as He deals with circumstances that in Him I have authority to deal with.
God bless you Church as Jesus builds our faith level to see the storms calmed and the enemy defeated in the everyday things we encounter, as life throws us the curved ball.