(Mark 4.35-41; Luke 8.22-25)
23After Jesus left in a boat with his disciples, 24a terrible storm suddenly struck the lake, and waves started splashing into their boat.
Jesus was sound asleep, 25so the disciples went over to him and woke him up. They said, “Lord, wake up! Save us before we drown!”
26But Jesus replied, “Why are you so afraid? You surely don't have much faith.” Then he got up and ordered the wind and the waves to calm down. And everything was calm.
27The men in the boat were amazed and said, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him.”
If you darkened the door of a Sunday School classroom during your childhood, you probably know this story. This well-known passage, the “calming the storm” story of Jesus crossing the Sea of Galilee, is one of those stories that are not terribly flattering to the disciples. Jesus’ closest followers come across as a tiny bit panicky. On this side of the storm, we’re a little embarrassed for them by the fuss they are making.
If you flip to this passage in a Bible, you will see this story follows directly after pages and pages of Jesus’ teachings, statements directly attributed to God’s Son. In my Bible, the preceding few chapters are in red ink, waving a red flag that the words belong to Jesus and my closest attention is required.
So we see that prior to climbing aboard a fishing boat to cross the Sea of Galilee, Jesus has been teaching about how to live, how to pray, how not to worry (ironically), and about who he is. The disciples have been drenched in teaching. Now they are drenched in water. They are drowning in fear.
And I totally get where the disciples are coming from. This passage is about who Jesus is: the God-man who can calm even the winds and the waves on his command. But it’s also about who we are. The 100% humans who can move from a mountaintop to a valley to dashing around a pitching, lurching boat in a matter of minutes.
We shift from praise to puzzled to panic quite easily. And typically, we do it again and again through our faith journey. We might even do it in the course of a day. Even as I sigh and shake my head at those disciples from the dry warmth of my home, I know I am often as afraid as they were. And Jesus’ observation of them: “You surely don’t have much faith,” is surely an ongoing invitation to us to have more.
Dear Father God, Thank you for this story that not only shows us who Jesus is, but also who we are. Thank you that we daily find you and your power alongside us and our weakness. And we know that we are safe. Help us to move from “not much” faith to just a little bit more each day.Amen.