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When he calms the storm, we learn Jesus brings the power of God to rescue His people from the vast destructive forces of nature. The miracles of Jesus have a message: Jesus brings the mercy of God for healing and deliverance.
When Jesus heals miraculously, several things happen at once:
- An individual exercises faith in Jesus by seeking him for healing before the miracle.
- The miracle testifies that God has given Jesus His authority.
- The miracle confronts watchers and listeners with the need to respond in faith.
- The miracle is a specific act of mercy and compassion for an individual.
- The miracle symbolically reminds us why Jesus, the Messiah, came.
We now see his authority over nature.
23And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” – Matthew 8:23-27
This event follows a long day of public teaching. Jesus is exhausted, which highlights his humanity. Jesus leave a predominately Jewish region and cross the Sea of Galilee to a predominately gentile region (Mark 4:25-41).
The Sea of Galilee is infamous for sudden storms that seem to come out of nowhere. This storm is a serious situation, but not a hurricane (Jesus can sleep through it). Additionally, several of the disciples are experienced fisherman who would be used to these storms.
Why did the disciples panic? Perhaps they fear Jesus no longer loves them as he seems unresponsive to their plight. Or they fear Jesus is not the Messiah he claims to be, as he is about to perish with them.
Jesus uses this phrase “o you of little faith” in situations where his disciples have lost sight of who God is and who he (Jesus) is (Matthew 6:30 / Luke 12:28; Matthew 14:31; Matthew 16:8; Matthew 17:20). Contrast the faith of the centurion with the disciples in the boat.
When Jesus calms the storm, he physically, visually reminds them that the authority of God is with him. Only God can control the forces of nature and He has given that authority to Jesus. Compare with Psalm 107:23-32.
When Ray Stedman preached on this text, he used one sentence to summarize what is being taught here: “The boat won’t sink, and the storm won’t last forever.” The gospel won’t let you down and the end of the storm is joy and glory.
Please listen to the podcast for more detail and explanation.
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Series: Gospel of Matthew 8-13 Behold the King, Part 2
Photo by Nighthawk Shoots on Unsplash
Podcast season 20, episode 4