Key Verse: “He saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”
FOLLOWING THE CONCLUSION of Jesus’ sermon on the mount, given especially for the benefit of his newly chosen apostles, the Master returned to Capernaum, which was located at the northwestern edge of the Sea of Galilee. In the afternoon of a busy day of performing miracles and teaching the multitudes, he entered a boat at the shore of the sea, continuing to preach. A while later, having concluded his teaching, Jesus directed that the boat be taken to the opposite shore. The twelve disciples accompanied him.—Matt. 8:18,23
As is the case even today, the Sea of Galilee is subject to sudden and intense storms and wind. As Jesus and his disciples made their way across the sea, a violent storm came upon them. Meanwhile, our Lord had been peacefully sleeping in the “hinder part of the ship.” (Mark 4:37,38; Matt. 8:24; Luke 8:22,23) Jesus was no doubt exhausted from the labors of his ministry during the preceding days. The storm continued to intensify, however, and the ship with its precious cargo began to sink. No wonder the disciples, many of whom were fishermen and very knowledgeable of the potential dangers associated with the Sea of Galilee, became very afraid. They rushed to Jesus, and “awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.”—Matt. 8:25
As noted in our Key Verse, Jesus arose, and after questioning the faith of the disciples, he commanded that the winds and sea be calm, and immediately the storm ceased. The disciples had witnessed many miracles which the Lord had performed during their time together, and had developed faith to some degree, but in this severe test, their faith wavered. Afterward, however, they marveled, and said, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”—Matt. 8:27
There is a precious lesson in this miracle for all of the Lord’s followers. We all have need of faith, but we must also have our faith tested. How suddenly the Adversary may cause a whirlwind of temptation, opposition or persecution to be brought against us. At times he may use the world as a source of these storms which test our faith, but they are really from him. (Eph. 2:2) On other occasions, Satan may use our own fleshly weaknesses to stir up within us storms of anger, passion or resentment.
Such experiences in the life of a Christian should not surprise us, for these are one of the chief means by which our faith is both tested and deepened. Thus, they are permitted for our eternal spiritual welfare. If, at times, we have been fearful and cried aloud, by and by we received comfort, with perhaps the gentle reprimand, “O ye of little faith.”
However, as lesson after lesson comes to us, the Master will expect—and we should expect of ourselves—greater faith, greater trust, greater peace, greater joy in the Lord, and greater confidence in his presence with us, and in his care over us. We learn to trust in him to deliver us from the wiles of the Adversary and from every evil thing, and to bring us eventually in safety to the port that we seek, which is the heavenly kingdom. (Rev. 3:12,21) How blessed are the words of the psalmist, who said concerning our Heavenly Father, “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.”—Ps. 107:29