Matthew 8:18, 23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25
Even the Wind and the Sea Obey Him
Scripture teaches, and the Church has always believed, that our Lord is both God and man. I say “is” because even now in heaven, his body, though glorified, and his human nature remain with him. His humanity was not just something that he carried about him when he walked on the earth to discard later; our Lord’s humanity is now an essential part of his being. With it, he intercedes for us at the Father’s right hand, praying for us as we so desperately need (Hebrews 7:23-8:2). He remains the God-man forever.
I say this because in this passage in which our Lord calms the sea, we see both our Lord’s humanity and divinity on full display. After a tiring day of preaching and ministry, Jesus and his disciples decide to go across the Sea of Galilee to the other side. Because the Sea of Galilee is below sea level, it is subject to sudden storms – which is exactly what happens here. We are to understand that when they began their voyage, all was calm. Then, suddenly a storm arose that was so violent that these seasoned sailors feared for their lives. Now here is the amusing part: Jesus is totally unaware of any of this. This is because he is sound asleep on a cushion in the stern. God does not sleep, but men do. So here we see our Lord’s humanity so tenderly revealed – tired and worn from giving himself to multitudes – he sleeps. And such a sound sleep it was! It seems to me that if ever there was a “sleep of faith,” this was it. Jesus has not a care in the world; he rests in his Father’s care.
Naturally, his disciples wake him: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (This should remind you of the account of the Prophet Jonah. Read it if you can’t remember. It serves as a remarkable and illuminating antithesis to Jesus and what we see here.) So Jesus rises and “rebukes” (isn’t that an intriguing word to use when addressing the wind and the sea) the wind and says to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And there was a great calm. Jesus then chides his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” Understand that Jesus is not using the word “faith” in the generic way it is used today when people say, “You gotta have faith.” Faith in what? Having a blind faith in, well … whatever, is foolish, especially if you fill in the blank with, “yourself.” Christians trust in Christ and in him alone. The disciples then marvel, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” He is the Son of God and the Son of Man, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Savior, Redeemer, and Friend. And he calls us to trust in him through all of life’s storms, and he says to our hearts: “Peace! Be still!”