Jesus calms the storm. Jesus did not cause the storm to arise. The storm was not His doing at all. He did not “weather” the storm although he was sleeping and not concerned or afraid one bit.
He did tell it to stop, and it did. Completely. It became perfectly calm. No wind. No waves. Just calm.
They were amazed because He is amazing. He did what He saw His Father doing. That is all.
Our God is Great. His son Jesus, the Messiah, does amazing things.
- May I see things as He does.
- May I do what I see Him doing.
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Master; we are perishing.”
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. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?
English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 8:23–27). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
The Sea of Galilee is about thirteen miles long and eight miles wide. It was not unusual for violent storms suddenly to sweep across the water. Jesus undoubtedly knew the storm was coming, and certainly could have prevented it. But He allowed it that He might teach His disciples some lessons.
The storm came because they obeyed the Lord, and not because (like Jonah) they disobeyed Him. Jesus was asleep because He rested confidently in the will of His Father; and this is what the disciples should have done. Instead, they became frightened and accused Jesus of not caring! Matthew wanted his readers to contrast the “little faith” of the disciples with the “great faith” of the Gentile centurion.
To give the disciples a clearer view of who he really is, Jesus “got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.”
- As a human Jesus was extremely tired after an exhausting day, but with divine power he quiets the storm by a mere word of command.
- He can command even the forces of nature, in the same way that in the Old Testament God “rebuked” the sea, a demonstration of his sovereign control over all of nature.
- This is an obvious miracle, because if a storm suddenly stopped naturally, the wind might cease but the waves would be disturbed for quite some time.
The reaction of the disciples says much about whom they are beginning to understand Jesus to be: “The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!’ ” The term for “amazed” is thaumazō, a different word from the one used to describe the reaction of the crowds to the Sermon on the Mount. But it is similar in that it does not show a clear understanding of Jesus’ identity. Perhaps Matthew signals this deficiency by calling them here simply “the men” instead of the usual “his disciples”.
It is still too much for the disciples to grasp fully, for what Jesus has just carried out is something only God can do. When Jonah tried to run from his calling to preach to Nineveh, God caused the calming of the storm, which produced a similar reaction from the sailors. In the Psalms Yahweh is celebrated as the master of the storm and sea.
In other words, Jesus is far more than the disciples have up to this time supposed. And he is far more than what we have often understood as well.
- It is a challenge for all of us to look clearly at Jesus as the divine-human Messiah, to allow him to amaze us, and even beyond amazement, to move us to follow him as his true disciples.
- We would do well to humble ourselves and call on him at our time of need, as self-sufficient as we might think we are.