in the Boat with Jesus
The vital thing in discipleship is to actually follow
Jesus Christ wherever He goes.
Have I left the lesser loyalties to follow the higher
priorities of the Kingdom of God?
It is not enough to be impressed with His person, or what
we can get from Him. Perhaps some of our evangelism and friendly “seeker
services” are like the people on the shore of the Sea of Galilee seeking another
amazing miracle. Perhaps like Carnival, we shout, “Throw me something mister!”
The crowds along the lakeside wanted more healings than
teaching. Jesus got into a boat and headed to the other side of the Sea of
The vital thing Jesus wants is for us to follow Him. Jesus
still says to would be disciples, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury the dead”
(Matthew 8:22). Jesus got in the boat “and His disciples followed Him” (v. 23).
Have we gotten into the boat with Jesus? Weak faith grows
strong in the fierce storms of life.
One moment Jesus is asleep on a pillow in the rear of the
boat in a fierce storm, overcome with exhaustion from a busy day. Then we see
Him a few moments later calming the fierce wind and waves, which only God can
Matthew, Mark and Luke tell the events that day when Jesus
and His disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee (Luke 8:22). Jesus, exhausted
from a day of ministry, fell asleep in the rear of the boat. “A fierce gale of
wind descended upon the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger”
(v. 23). Matthew who was an eyewitness said, “There arose a great storm,”
literally “a shaking.” The “boat was covered with waves” (Matt. 8:24). It was
such a severe storm that these professional sailors panicked.
Jesus was not only divine, but He was thoroughly human. He
is the God-man. He is fully God and He is fully man. Here we have a beautiful
picture of the human side of Jesus because He was in the need of rest. He was
tired and exhausted. He needed to get away from the crowds and rest. He put His
trust in His heavenly Father to watch over Him.
Suddenly, a furious storm came up and strong violent gale
winds whipped the waves and engulfed the boat. It was a “boisterous surge, a
This storm was different from anything they had ever
encountered before. They had never experienced anything like it. Humanly
speaking the situation became increasingly grave.
The disciples panicked. “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!”
Jesus “rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they
stopped, and it became calm” (LK. 8:24). Matthew says, “it became perfectly
calm,” or literally “a great calm occurred.” After such a storm a lake does not
calm down that quickly and stay that way. The disciples knew that it normally
takes a while for the waves to settle down. Here, eyewitnesses said the lake
Christ, God omnipotent, was in the boat. He is the master
of the wind and the waves. Wherever Jesus is the power of God is there. Wherever
Jesus is the storm becomes calm. Suddenly the surface of the lake became as
smooth as a piece of glass.
The reaction of the disciples at the calmness struck them
with “fear and amazement.” It is probably correct to say they were now more
afraid of the calmness than the storm.
Jesus asked, “Where is your faith?” (Lk. 8:25). His faith
was in His Father (Ps. 89:8-9).
The amazed disciples were saying to one another, “Who then
is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?” (v.
Where was their faith? They had enough to get into the boat
with Jesus and follow Him. Yes, getting into a fishermen’s boat was their safety
zone. They had done that hundreds of times. They had also ridden out a few bad
storms in their lifetime.
Why were they not exercising their faith in Him at this
Our faith in God has to be exercised personally. It refuses
to be controlled by the fierce storms in life. It refuses to panic when the
going gets tough and beyond our comfort. We have to focus our faith on Him.
The thing that moved Jesus in this account was not the
violent storm, but the lack of faith of the disciples. “Why are you timid, you
men of little faith?” (Matt. 8:26).
With Jesus in our boat we should have courage to face the
storms by faith in Him. Christ is always in the boat. Jesus is praying that we
will have strong faith in Him (Lk. 22:31-32).
The things that hinder our faith are doubt,
rationalizations, anxiety, lack of courage, etc. Faith is volitional. It is a
choice I make.
Our faith has to be tested before it can be trusted. God
allowed a violent storm to test the disciples. Jesus entrusted His safety to the
Father. The disciples trusted in their own competence as professional fishermen.
“Their unbelief was more dangerous than the storm.” It takes God to change the
“Behold God is my salvation, I will trust and not be
afraid” (Isaiah 12:2).
Where is your child like trust? Would the One who had
chosen them to follow Him allow them to perish in the storm? Was not His
presence reassuring? We know Jesus had the storm “under control” because He was
sound asleep in the raging storm.
John Ryle said, “How many have faith and love enough to
forsake all for Christ’s sake, and to follow Him wherever He goes, and yet are
full of fears in the hour of trial! How many have grace enough to turn to Jesus
in every trouble crying, ‘Lord, save us,’ and yet not grace enough to lie still
and believe in the darkest hour that all is well.”
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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