That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Where would be the stormiest place in the world to live and sail? How about Albert Square, the home of EastEnders? There, love of money, fear, revenge, adultery, anger all washed down with plenty of booze make it a stormy little sea. How about inside my head or heart? It is an inland ‘in-the-skull’ sea where chronic insecurities, fear of impending failure, stress-filled relationships and a proven talent for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time all make for difficult sailing.
How about the Sea of Galilee? Blue, peaceful and sun kissed for most of the time, but with a reputation for sudden winds and rollers that can rock any boat.
Many people think that when they get involved with Jesus life will suddenly be peaceful, stress free and becomingly calm. After all, he is the ‘King of Peace’ and imparted his gift of peace to the disciples after his resurrection (John 20: 19). It is a complete misconception. There is no calmer than calm place. The Sea of Tranquillity exists on the face of the moon not the earth. A problem or difficulty in life is when something goes wrong inside the boat. A storm in life is when something goes wrong in the sea and the boat is tossed around like a tiny bit of flotsam. We have all had difficulties in our boats, things that we can solve or live with but a storm that is completely beyond our control that is something else.
This story is all about a real storm, in which people are really frightened. Before we get to the storm however, we are given the golden key:
‘And when he got into the boat’
Before the gale gets up and before the waves get down he gets into the boat.
What a contrasting picture. The boat is in danger of being swamped and sinking. Jesus is asleep. The disciples are panicking; Jesus is resting.
The disciples are an interesting bunch. I do not just mean in their sailing across the lake I mean in their sailing towards and then onwards with Jesus. They still do not know fully who he is. They have seen him healing people and received great teaching at his feet. They have felt the pull of his personal call, but they haven’t truly found it yet. Who is he? A rabbi? A great rabbi? Or perhaps more than that? Jesus hasn’t told them, maybe he is still exploring ‘who am I really Lord? ’a little bit himself.
‘So what sort of man is this, that even the wind and waves obey him’? Something is happening, it is utterly unique in human history. For the first and last time ever a human being has appeared who has command over the elements.
We are sailing, we are sailing.
‘Cross the sea.
We are sailing,
To be near you,
To be free.
We can sail through this life with its calm spells and storms alone. Or we can do it all with him sitting in our boat. What about your life today? Calm sea or storm tossed? Sunshine or dark clouds? Jesus on the inside or left behind on the quayside?
There is a storm brewing
In and around my life.
I know that you are in my boat,
But it feels like you are asleep.
Help me to trust in you
As you arise,
And steer me through the waves and weather.