Following on from Jesus teaching the parables of the wheat and the mustard seed which invited us to trust God’s process and God’s timing, we seem to have a parable in this event of the massive storm that invites us to trust in Him even in the worst of times.
What comes after this passage is the deliverance of the Gerasene demoniac, which seems to be where Jesus was headed to on the other side of the lake of Galilee. Is this massive storm an attempt by the forces of evil to prevent this deliverance? It does seem likely.
We do know that Jesus set out deliberately for this locality on the other side of the lake, and plenty of witnesses joined Him in other boats. We know that it was evening before the lake crossing even began, and that they only set out after the crowds had been dismissed.
Jesus was already in the boat before they set out, and we know that at times He preached from Peter’s boat close to the shoreline. There doesn’t seem to have been any prior preparation or planning for this journey; and in all likelihood the seamen among the disciples would have expected a rather swift crossing – no more than an hour or two, with landfall before it got pitch dark.
But we see this sudden, intense, physical opposition to their journey’s progress; and they feel they are facing it all on their own because Jesus is in the back of the boat asleep.
The usual translations we read, do not do the original Greek justice, and water down the intensity of the crisis the disciples in the boats faced. What we often read as storm or great gale can also be translated violent wind-storm, squall, whirlwind, hurricane. They are hard enough to deal with in daylight, but in fading light and darkness it must have engendered extra terror.
So violent was it, that the waves were breaking over and into the boat, so that it was filled entirely. Any efforts to bail out the water were proving to be futile. The boat was beginning to sink.
At this point, like them, we are asking, where is God in all this?
How acutely they must have felt the absence of His reassuring presence! They could have also asked; Why is God permitting this to happen to us? What did we do wrong? Where did we go wrong?
‘Teacher, teacher, we are perishing. We are at the point of being fully and totally destroyed.’
And Jesus gets up, commands ‘Silence!’, ‘Be still!’, and the immediate calm that happens is as great as the storm was.
'megale’ is used to describe both the storm AND the calm.
This supernatural calm overwhelms the disciples with fear, awe and reverence.
Only God Himself is able to transform utter disaster, turmoil and chaos into perfect peace and order in a single moment. No one else and nothing else can.
And what does Jesus say to them (and to us)?
Why are you so frightened?
Have you no faith?
Have you forgotten Who is in control?
We’re still terrified, before and after, and it is human to be afraid.
Gulp. Obviously not as much faith as we thought we had. At all.
Yep. Completely forgot. Utterly failed that one….. Sorry.
May God help us to remember that even in the worst of times, that He is still completely in control.
May God help us to remember that especially in the worst of times, we can be expectant for His sudden divine action to happen to fix everything perfectly– and thus not despair nor become despondent.
May God help us to remember that nothing is going to stop us carrying out the mission we have been given by Him, even if it has been delayed by enemy tactics – and to expect far more spectacular results if there have been delays and opposition.
In our darkest moments may God send His holy angels to remind us of this Gospel event, and through it to remind us that He is completely in control, and that the end He has in mind is far more amazing and more glorious and stupendous than anything that currently terrorizes us.
Amen. Amen. Amen.
He alone is worthy of our trust.
Let us place our trust in Jesus.
Let us renew our trust in Jesus.
Let us massively increase our trust in Jesus.