Gospel of Matthew 8: 23-27 (NIV)
23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
This account of Jesus’ calming of the storm appears in all three of the Synoptic Gospels, followed by accounts of other miracles of Jesus. What sets Jesus’ calming of the storm apart from those other miracles is that this miracle demonstrates the authority Jesus exercises, not only over the lives of other people, but over the forces of nature itself.
I think of the Lord of all creation. I think of words of command and of the formative acts “in the beginning” when God brought into being what did not formerly exist. I think of God through Jesus speaking into existence light, sky, land and seas and vegetation, sun and moon and stars, the creatures of the earth and now, as recorded here, continuing to speak control into a situation which brought terror to mere mortals.
Why did Jesus calm the storm? Was his life in danger? I think Jesus calmed the storm not for his own preservation nor even for the preservation of his anxious disciples. I think he chose to demonstrate to the disciples that they did not have faith in his ability to accomplish what he purposed but that he required of them that they have faith.
Faith and fear cannot co-exist in the dominion of our God. Why? Because when we have faith in God, including that God is in control of every situation and that his will will be done for those who love him, then there is nothing to fear.
“You of little faith,” Jesus said to his disciples, “why are you so afraid?”
“Trust! Believe! Have faith!” He was urging them to recognise who he truly was and therefore to live under his sovereign rule, fearing nothing on earth.
How are you going to fortify your heart for that occasion when you believe you need a miracle, either in your own life or in the life of somebody close to you? What if the miracle you believe is essential to your situation does not eventuate? How are you going to deal with that?
In the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18: 1-8), Jesus gave two messages relevant to this subject. The first is an encouragement to us to persevere in prayer. That gives me confidence to continue to pray. The second message is in the warning: “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Will there be people of faith – faith to persist in prayer – in the decades ahead of us? Will fear overtake us: not just overtake the people of the world whose hearts have already grown cold, but overtake the people who call themselves Christians? Has fear overtaken already? What controls your own life: fear, anxiety, apprehension about the future – or total faith in God?
Resolve now not to fear because of your conviction that you are loved by God and that he is trust-worthy. Put your faith in him.
For another post on Jesus’ calming of the storm, visit https://pcfchaplain.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/why-are-you-so-afraid/