What kind of person was Jesus? He was the kind of man you could invite to a wedding, even when things didnít go right at the reception. He was the kind of man to whom you could come with questions in the middle of the night. He was the kind of man with whom you could share your deepest secrets without worrying that you might shock Him. He was the kind of man who went fishing with a boatload of rowdy Galileans, who accepted a dinner invitation to the home of a known swindler, and who could sit at ease talking to a woman of ill repute.
And yet, there was another side to Jesus that was not so familiar. It was a side that tended to make people uncomfortable when they saw it. It is that side that we shall see in this passage.
THE REASON FOR THIS STORY
Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, "Let us go over to the other side of the lake." So they launched out. (Luke 8:22).
We are not told the chronological setting of this event. It is not said to follow on the heels of the relating of the parables in the previous paragraph. This means that the placement of this narrative is deliberate to Lukeís purpose. He is not saying, "This is what happened next," but rather, "Here is something else that you need to know about Jesus that relates directly to what I have just told you."
The mothers and brothers of Jesus come to see him. He states that all who believe in Him are His true mother and brothers
The disciples awaken Jesus during a storm on the lake. He stills the storm with a command.
Relationship with Jesus.
The Power and Authority of Jesus.
In the previous verses, Luke has related how the mother and brother of Jesus came to speak to Him and He replied that it is those who believe in Him who are truly His mother and brothers.
This is a picture of the nearness of Jesus. We refer to that quality as His Immanence. It points to the fact that I can go to Him and that I can be comforted by His presence.
The two extremes that are commonly held by unbelievers are to see God as either removed from His creation to the point of being unknown versus His being identical to His creation. These two extremes are the result of emphasizing either Godís transcendence or His immanence. It can be charted out like this:
God is the head of the Covenant
God is infinitely far removed from the creation
God is involved as Lord with His creatures
God is identical to the creation
The Christian, on the other hand, sees the Lord as our covenant head. He is the HEAD of this covenant (emphasizing His transcendence). But He is also the head of a COVENANT relationship which emphasizes His immanence.
Luke has been showing our relationship with Jesus and depicting it as members of a divine family. But he also wants to show another side of that relationship. He wants to show that Jesus is more than merely a "big brother." And so, he tells this story.
A PERILOUS STORM
But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. (Luke 8:23).
The waters of Galilee lie 680 feet below sea level. The lake measures some 13 miles from north to south and is surrounded by mountains. This ring of mountains is broken by the Jordan River in the south and in the north by a narrow gorge to the north which winds its way 30 miles to the snowcapped heights of Mount Hermon. This gorge acts as a funnel for the winds that blow off the surrounding mountains. When cool air currents from the mountains rushing down the gorge collide with the heated air over the lake, the result is sometimes a violent storm.
Luke calls it a "fierce gale of wind." The Greek phrase carries the idea of a "storm of wind." This boat had not been designed to weather a storm. It was not a sea-going vessel. It was a freshwater fishing boat. It was designed for fishing upon the lake. And when it began to take on water, the disciples became afraid. Most of them probably did not know how to swim. And those that did were too far from shore to be able to make such a distance.
A ROYAL REBUKE
They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!" And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. (Luke 8:24).
All this time, Jesus has been asleep in the back of the boat. He isnít faking it. He is truly exhausted. And He has been sleeping throughout the entire storm.
The disciples should have taken their cue from Jesus. He is sleeping. He is relaxed in this situation. He is not pacing the deck. He is not biting His nails. He is completely relaxed. And the disciples should have known that they could relax, too.
What are the storms in your life? Are you facing some major problem? You need to know something. God is not worried about your situation. He is not biting His nails. And you donít have to, either.
You see, it had been Jesusí idea to get into the boat and to sail across the sea. Now that the storm has come, the disciples have forgotten that they were following Jesus. When you follow Jesus, you donít have to worry about where you are going. If He is leading you, then He will make certain that you get there.
By the way, if you have a storm in your life and you are NOT following Jesus, then you have every reason to be scared to death. If you are not following Jesus, then death is the most terrifying thing in the world.
The One who created land and sea now stood up and rebuked His creation. Why did Jesus do that? I think that it was so that He might fulfill a prophecy from the Old Testament.
Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters;
For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; their soul melted away in their misery.
They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, and were at their witsí end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distresses.
He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad because they were quiet; so He guided them to their desired haven. (Psalm 107:23-30).
Notice who it was who stilled the storm. It was the Lord - the God of Israel. This is an evidence for the deity of Jesus Christ. It is one thing to command the storm to be stilled. It is another thing for the storm to obey such a command.
A QUESTION OF FAITH
And He said to them, "Where is your faith?" They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, "Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?" (Luke 8:25).
This is not a mere rhetorical question. Jesus was pointing out that there was no need to be afraid. Once you believe in the love and the power of God, then you can weather any storm.
These disciples had seen an abundance of miracles. They had seen the power of God. And they had seen the love and the compassion of God. But they still lacked faith.
Before we judge the disciples, perhaps we should examine our own lives. After all, we have seen the power of God and the love of God. Isnít it amazing how we can see that power and that love, but then when our storms come we then forget about it altogether?
Notice the reaction of the disciples. They were fearful and amazed. I have no doubt but that they had been fearful in the midst of the storm, but Luke does not tell us that. He tells us that they were fearful NOW. The disciples had a sudden attack of xenophobia - the fear of the unknown. They realized that Jesus is not a normal human being. He is different than the disciples. He is other than the rest of mankind. He is holy. He is set apart and different from the rest of His creation.
Manís reaction to the holiness and "otherness" of God is always fear. Do you remember the reaction of Isaiah when he had his vision of the holiness of God?
In the year of King Uzziahís death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.
Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
And one called out to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory." (Isaiah 6:1-3).
This was a glorious vision. It was a vision which took Isaiah into heaven - into the very throne room of God. We are not told the details of how Isaiah came to see this vision. Perhaps he had come to the temple in Jerusalem to worship and, while here, was given a glimpse of what the true temple in heaven looks like.
He sees God sitting upon the throne. All around the throne are angels. They comprise a royal bodyguard. They proclaim the holiness of their Creator. What was Isaiahís reaction to this vision? It is seen in verse 5.
Then I said, "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." (Isaiah 6:5).
Isaiah was filled with fear. When he was confronted with the greatness of the gulf between himself and his Creator, he felt a heaviness within him. For the first time in his life, he realized what it was to stand in the presence of God.
These disciples in the boat in the middle of the lake felt the same thing. Before they had been afraid of the storm. Now as they gaze upon the One who has stilled the storm, they are filled with a different kind of fear. It is a fear of the Lord. And they do not know it, but they have just taken a step toward a higher wisdom.
Have you ever stopped to think about what Jesus said about Himself?
No one else in history has ever made such claims as Jesus made. This means that you cannot view Jesus as merely a good man. He refused to be called that. He said that only God is good. Either Jesus is God, or else Jesus is not good.
Jesus broke up every funeral He ever attended. He healed the sick. He gave sight to the blind. He restored healing to the deaf. He stilled the raging storm. But there were also things that Jesus NEVER did. He never confessed sin. He never apologized. He never admitted that he was wrong. He never asked for advice. He never corrected any of his teachings. In any other person, this would have been the height of arrogance. But for the One who could still the storm, it was right.
The disciples were afraid. Why? They had seen miracles before. They had seen healings and they had seen demons being cast out. But this was different. This time it involved them directly. This time they were in the boat and in the storm. And it happened to them!
It is one thing to hear the gospel and to see the power of God at work. It is another thing to personally be a part of the gospel through faith and to have God work in YOUR life. One is simple knowledge about God. The other is to known Him personally.
The passage ends with a question: "Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?" It ends this way for a reason. It ends this way because YOU have to answer the question. Who is Jesus?
If He is just a man, then you can safely ignore Him. But if He is the Son of God, then you must believe in Him as your Lord and Savior.