The Power of Jesus in the Storm

23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And 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. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (Matthew 8:23–27).

Today we are going to talk about the storms of life and the power of Jesus.

Taken separately we understand them. We understand that life has its difficulties (storms in life) and I hope we understand that Jesus embodies and possesses all power. Taken as two separate topics, the troubles of life and the power of Christ, they are interesting. But taken together and understood together they are life changing.

The storms of life, troubles of life without the power of Christ, they are devastating. I remember and example of this when my grandfather died. My grandfather died after he fell and hit his head on a concrete walkway. The blow to his head was so severe that it caused massive bleeding in his brain which soon took his life. After his funeral, one of my relatives came to me and was in a real panic about how my grandfather had died. She was not only grieved by his death but was frightened by it because to her it seemed completely random and her take was it could happen to any one of us at anytime. That any of us could be just by chance, walking down the sidewalk and fall and experience his fate.

There is a sense in which she was right, none of us know when our day will come but that it was random is what frightened her and that part was not true. If Christ has all power and if the Bible is true which says He holds all things together, then He is in control and randomness then does not exist.

People are frightened today about things like asteroids which may by change hit the earth or global warming that will destroy the earth or pestilences that will rise up and take many lives. Yes, some of those things may happen but only if the Lord allows it. None of it is out of control or random or acts of chance.

The storms of life are not either.

If our trust and faith is in Christ, and we are sure of His power then we are safe in His hands even if that means He will soon take us home.

The storms of life are not to knock us off track or devastate us or make our world crash before us. Not for the believer Our God is above those things and has promised to carry us through them. He will not leave his nor forsake us.

In our passage today, the disciples faced a very literal storm of life, a storm on the sea, as storm with great power and force that frightened these men some of whom were fishermen and use to storms.

But this storm was different.

Jesus, back in verse 18 had ordered his disciples to go to the other side, meaning, get a boat and go with him across the sea of Galilee. The crowd was pressing in on Him and it was time for them to go across the sea. They readied a boat they all got in and headed to the other side.

And in verse 24 it says this,

23 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea,

The word that is used here for great storm is a word that literally means earthquake. It was an apocalyptic upheaval in the sea. This was not a small everyday sort of storm but a major storm, not something that these men had experienced before. It was fairly common for storms to come out suddenly on the sea but not one like this and we can know this from the words used and by the reaction of these men.

The narrative goes on with more description of what these men were facing.

24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves;

The danger was real and the boat was being swamped by the waves.

Put yourself in their shoes. I cannot think of many things that would be more frightening than to be on the water in a huge unprecedented storm in fear of drowning. I was in a sailboat once, in the ocean in a storm as a kid and I still remember the feeling of helplessness. What do you do? You cannot see the shore, the boat is being tossed, you have no control over the size or the strength of the next wave that you know is coming. What do you do?

It is being at the mercy of what? Ultimately it is being at the mercy of God, the God who controls the sea, the waves, the wind. These men, after assessing their state they went to Jesus.

Now, most of us will not face a life or death situation in a sea or an ocean in a boat in a massive storm. However we will face what seems to us as massive storms of life, meaning troubles in life. In fact, we are promised that in the Bible. In this life, the Bible tells us, you will have trouble.

Your storm may not seem like a major deal to me or to others who know you but it may be to you. In those times, what will you do? Who will you trust, to whom will you go?

These men went to Jesus. What do you make of the fact that Jesus was found to be sleeping in the boat in this massive life threatening storm? Well for one, He must have been incredibly tired to be able to sleep through a treacherous storm! He was exhausted and apparently very calm.

The disciples beg Him for help.

25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.”

They call Him Lord, which is good. They go to Him and ask for help. Notice they do not say, we are afraid we may perish, we are concerned with the may die in this storm, no, they say, we are perishing.

It is like, this is the end, we are doomed. It is not just a request for some assistance, it is Save us, we are dying.

This is being at the end of the rope, there is no hope apart from supernatural intervention. There is no human solution, they have come to the end of their strength, the end of themselves, all that is left is for Jesus to work miracles in their minds.

Save us Lord, we are perishing!

Jesus response:

26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”

Why did Jesus rebuke these men? They were afraid.

Just let that sink in for a moment. They were afraid. It is easy, isn’t it for us to try and put ourselves in these men’s shoes and say, well, who wouldn’t be afraid?

The most common command in the Bible is

“do not be afraid”

The fear comes in when they or we do not trust God. What should they have had faith in? In Christ who is God and who is in control even of the storm. Think about this. They were in the presence of Jesus, did they think Jesus was unaware of their surroundings? Did they think Jesus was capable of failing to work things out for His good purposes. Did they think Jesus, because He was asleep, did they think things like a storm could sneak up on Jesus. Did they think HE could be unaware?

Now we need to be careful here. Some would say, they should have had faith that Jesus would get them safely to the other side. We don’t know that Jesus told each one of them they would get safely to the other side. I don’t think, we don;’t know that Jesus promised them that. This was not the issue. One or some of them could have died on this journey. The faith was not to be in getting to the other side. Their faith should be that Jesus would work this situation out for His glory and for their good even if they were to die.

Trusting in Jesus is not about trusting that only good things will happen to us it is trusting in God who knows what is absolutely best for us and who will accomplish His will in our lives and in His.

This might mean being ok with dying, if that be God’s will. We don’t even have to be afraid of dying, right, the sting of death is gone if we belong to Christ.

These men had already spent a lot of time with Jesus and what had been happening during their time together? Jesus had been healing the sick and casting out demons. He had been doing supernatural works in their presence. He had been restoring people's lives. Just from a physical perspective Jesus had been restoring people's lives who had been in severe crises and all in the presence of these very men. They had been His witnesses and surely they knew what Jesus could do. But here is the problem so often and a problem that we may face. We know what Jesus can do and we know of His abilities we are confident in Him, that is unless we are the one in significant crisis. We believe He will help so and so and carry this or that person through difficulties but when we are the ones hurting and real trouble is affecting us personally we may become afraid and fail to trust in the Lord.

He had healed a person with leprosy, a man on his deathbed all in their presence but what about helping them in crisis?

Will Jesus be there for you?

Jesus rebukes these men for their lack of faith and then showed them His power.

Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

For many years I had a print on the wall I would face while sitting at my desk, a picture of a boat on the sea of Galilee with Jesus’ outreached arms over a calm, perfectly calm sea.

It was an artist rendition of this passage at just the moment when Jesu calmed the sea. I starred at that picture hundreds and hundreds of times being reminded of the power of the Lord over the sea and the winds and ultimately over everything that could enter my life and the lives of my family members.

The Scripture says, He rebuked the winds and the sea. To rebuke was to give a command to the wind and the waves. He commanded them to be calm. And they were immediately calm.

Being stunned and surprised here is the response of the men

27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

Again, they had seen Jesus do many things already, many miracles. One would think that not much would really surprise them as far as what Jesus was capable of and yet, they were surprised. They were surprised at what Jesus did right before their eyes.

I don’t know what they expected Jesus to do when they decided to wake Him but apparently it wasn't this!

The answer to their question, what sort of man is this that even the wind and the sea obey Him? What sort of man is this? He is God.

Now, I have, going through this narrative, weaved in some application for us regarding storms of life, troubles we face, of the necessity that we call on the Lord in our Trouble and how Jesus is able to help us and He has promised to help us in life and for eternity. There is an application for us in this passage.

Whatever you face, the Lord knows what it is, He is not absent, it has not caught Him off guard or by surprise. He is not unaware of your plight and He knows best how to handle it for you. we are to call on Him, go to Him in prayer, ask for His help believing He will help. All of these things are true and biblical.

But can I say that their is something even more grand about this account? There is something greater in this than simply what God can do for you and for me.

The simple truth is this. Jesus the Son of God, the One who came to this earth and willingly subjected Himself to the worst of humanity to be slain for the sins of the world, this Jesus has not just a man or a good teacher but was and is the One who controls all of creation and everything is subject to Him.

Everything is subject to Him…disease, demons, people, the wind, the sea, the stars every asteroid in the heavens, the planets, the climate, the ozone layer, US politics, world events, the end of time as we know it, wars, you finances, relationships, the time of your death and mine, everyone is subject to Him. This is the main truth found in this passage today. We should marvel at who He is and what He is capable of.

Everything is subject to Him.

And with all power in Him, He has chosen to love us as His children. He is holy and righteous and powerful and He cares for us His church.

I was praying for some of you this week and as I prayers I was so glad to know that I was not informing God of anything. He already knows your plight. He knows your needs.

When you are tempted to be afraid, remember Jesus. Remember who He really is. Remember His power and HIs love for you.

One who has this kind of power can be no less than God himself, worthy of worship, irrespective of when and how he chooses to use that power in our lives. Sometimes he leaves storms unstilled for good and godly ends, sometimes He takes them away, either way He is God and He is acting in both holiness and in love.

23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And 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. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (Matthew 8:23–27).