And He arose and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
Man! How, great and how glorious was man when coming from the, Hand of the Creator!
There was literally nothing in the earth or in the elements which could cause fear in Adam and Eve. All things were subject to him. He was king.
Now look at him!
Here is his description by the Holy Ghost: “and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Heb. 2:15
In the original you read; “all their to live,” indicating that such bondage was a matter of constant presence.
Fear of death is our element; bondage our perpetual condition.
Now look at MAN again, but now I write His name in capital letters, for I have in mind Jesus, the Son of God!
He is the better Man, the elevated Man, the glorified Man.
And He is not simply the King of the earth; He is the King of the whole Universe. Unto Him is given all power in heaven and on earth.
He is the great Liberator!
Yes, He liberates us from the shackles of sin, death and damnation. But He is also the Liberator from all bondage here on earth. When He has His abode in your heart, you are quiet in the greatest storms and turmoils on the earth.
He is the Sovereign of the earth; yes, and also the Sovereign of the sea, as is shown in the miracle which we meditate on today.
Let’s look at the time and circumstances of this miracle.
It was the time of His greatest popularity on earth. Immense crowds gathered around Him, so that at times He would sit in a little boat away from the shore and speak to the multitudes that otherwise would throng Him.
They came from everywhere to see and to hear Him and to be cured of their ills.
They came from Galilee and, Judea, from Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond Jordan, and from Tyre and Sidon. There came even a blaspheming committee of Scribes from Jerusalem. Sometimes conditions were such that they could not eat bread. He raised the dead, threw out demons, healed the blind; the deaf, the paralytic, de dumb, etc. And the members of, His family thought Him beside Himself, that is, they thought Him to be insane.
And it was night.
The Lord had a busy day. What understatement! We’ll come back to that.
But finally the Lord instructed the apostles to send the multitude away, to take a ship and cross over to de other side of the Sea of Galilee. So they took Him “as He was,” and attempted to cross t h e lake.
But. . . a great storm arose!
And what a storm that must have been. You get the idea from the word that is used: “Seisma,” which means earthquake. We have an English word “seismograph,” that is; an instrument which records the severity of an earthquake.
It seems as though the bottom of the lake is shaken by an earthquake.
And not only that, it is called a great earthquake.
A great earthquake in the waters!
You can also sense it by the results.
This story is repeated in Matthew and Luke. And there we read that the storm was so great that the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.” (Mark) insomuch that the ship was covered with waves.” (Matt.) “and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.” (Luke)
It was about as far as you can go without going under.
You can also note the severity of this earthquake-storm by the behavior of the apostles.
Now remember that these men were seamen, fishermen, from their youth. They had spent their entire life on this Sea of Galilee.
But now listen to their agonizing cries: “Lord, save us; we perish!” Matt.; “Carest Thou not that we perish?!” Mark; “Master! Master! we perish!” Luke.
I tell you, when sailors start to cry like this, it must have been the most terrible tempest they had ever experienced.
But Jesus is asleep.
I promised that I would get back to something I said there: “They took Him even as He was into the ship.”
Of course, Jesus was asleep. That ties in with the whole context.
Jesus had done an impossible task.
At another place we once read that Jesus noted that virtue had gone out from Him. You know, a woman had touched Him. Can you imagine what it means to perform miracles all day long?
Can you imagine what it means to have the eternal power of the Triune God go through your frame all day long? Besides preaching and teaching all day long in the midst of His miracles? And they were not few either. Repeatedly we read that they brought all their sick folk to Him and He healed them all.
Now do you understand the phrase: They took Him as He was?
We will put it in our colloquial idiom: Jesus was dead tired. He was spent, wearied to the bone.
And so, when entering the ship He went at once to the hinder part of the ship, found a pillow for His sweet head, and fell into a deep sleep. And this sleep was so deep that even the earthquake storm did not wake Him.
And, of course, also this absence of a conscious Jesus added to the fear of the disciples. The Master who always took the lead was asleep. And so they were left to their own resources.
Well, these resources came to a sorry end.
There they stand around the bed (?) of Jesus, wringing their hands, and crying in their agony: We are but dead men! Carest Thou not, O Master?!
And He knows at once.
There is a hymn, and a line comes to me at this juncture: a true line: He knows, He knows it all!
Well, He did. At the return of consciousness, at the raging sound of wind and storm, at the sight of His affrighted disciples: He knows it all!
He arises from His bed (?).
See Him stand there!
His robes waving violently in the driven storm.
But you can rest assured that not a semblance of fear is in His heart.
Because He is the Sovereign of the sea. He has everything as in the hollow of His hand. You are about to see the Son of the living God in action.
He is so far from fear and dismay because of wave and gust of wind or raging storm, that He first turns to His disciples to give them a mild rebuke, even before He performs His miracle. (Matt.)
I said there a mild rebuke and that’s what it is. Note the questioning form of speech: Why are ye fearful O ye of little faith? Matt. Why are ye so fearful? How is it that you have no faith? Mark. Where is your faith? Luke.
And, of course, it is true. If a man has faith, living faith in God and in Jesus, he does not act like these disciples. Faith is quiet, faith knows, faith trusts in God, no matter what.
Yes, but the waves and the sea, and drowning?
How about suffering, blood and death?
Yes, even in all these things we are more than conquerors through Jesus who loves us. Thus speaks faith.
O, the disciples were not without faith. Note that Christ speaks of their little faith. They had faith all right. But here is the point: they did not exercise their faith. And then you get scared.
But let us watch the Sovereign of the sea.
Majestically He arose, rebuked the waves and the sea, or, as others put it: He rebuked the raging of the waters, and said unto the sea: Peace, be still!
And then something happened that they never forgot.
Remember, there was a great earthquake of a storm, and now? There came at once, immediately, A GREAT CALM!
The mountainous waves are suddenly gone, the shrieking of the storm like the shrieking of a thousand devils turns to a beautiful silence, and it is quiet and still. The surface of the sea is now as the face of a mirror.
Yes, I believe that I would have said it too, if I had been there: What manner of man is this that even the wind and the sea obey Him?
An interesting story.
Yes, but that is the smallest part.
It is also a great sign.
Did you note that Jesus rebuked the sea, the wind and the waves?
The devil was behind this whole business. God had delegated power to the devil, and he saw his chance. Here we have the whole N.T. church: Jesus and His apostles. I’ll kill them. Jesus at once recognizes the hand of the devil and rebukes him.
Often the church is in the midst of such storms, while Jesus is asleep in the hinder part of the ship. And the church does not exercise its faith. And when we cry: Jesus, Master carest Thou not that we perish? So we cried in ’24 and in ’53.
But He rebuked the wind, and the sea, and there came a great calm.
So it happens in our personal lives and of our family.
We have a song in Holland. I do not know it any more. Only parts of it. “Wij hebben ‘s Vaders Zoon aan boord en ‘t veilig strand voor ‘t oog.” You have a song here in America. And I do not know that either. But here is a line or two: They all shall sweetly (?). obey His will. Peace, be still! Peace, be still!