1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Book of Luke, The Stilling of the Storm – Lesson 103


Luke 8:19-25, Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press. 20And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee. 21And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it. 22Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. 23But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. 24And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.


Prior to Luke’s account of the stilling of the storm Luke tells us that Jesus’ mother and His brothers desired to see him but were prevented from doing so because of the crowds.


In spite of hearing that his mother is present Jesus continues to teach those around him and uses this intended visit of his loved ones to teach that spiritual ties are of greater value than physical ties. 


This is no rejection of his mother but an important emphasis saying that which is eternal is more important to God than that which is temporal. 


And what is eternal revolves around hearing and the doing of the word of God. 


It revolves around faith which is what the stilling of the storm on the Sea of Galilee is all about.


This account of the stilling of the storm is the first of three miracles recorded by Luke in chapter 8.


The stilling of the storm (Luke 8:22-25) is followed by the healing of the demoniac (8:26-38).


The third demonstration of our Lord’s miracle working power is recorded in the account of the raising of Jairus’s daughter which also includes within this event the healing of the woman with the issue of blood.


All of these miracles precede the sending out of the disciples, to do the very things the Lord has done here.


Every miracle was an instruction to his disciples as they were sent out to do the same.


We read of this sending out in Luke 9 and also we read of the mission of this sending out.


Luke 9:1-2,  Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.


All of these miracles point to the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as to His identity as Israel’s Messiah and his strict compliance with the requirements of the Messiah as given in the scriptures.


In the stilling of the storm miracle the two subjects which we observe are “fear” and “faith.”


As we study this incident we can get a glimpse of the relationship between fear and faith. 


I am not talking about the fear of God here, but I am talking about slavish fear, fear that keeps a person from doing the will of God.


The principle focal point of this passage is on faith, in contrast to the lack of faith evidenced by the disciples’ response to the storm.   


And that lack of faith was manifested in their fear. 


Fear and faith are opposed!


By observing this contrast we can learn from this passage

a great deal about the nature of faith.


As Christians we want to know what faith is, how faith works, and how to recognize when faith isn’t there.


God is pleased with faith and it is imperative that those who love God want to please him with their faith, so the more we know about faith the better. 


This passage is given by our Father in Heaven in order to help us in that effort, for God loves us and He wants to increase our faith for any increase in faith is for our good.


The miracle of the stilling of the storm is found in all three of the synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke.


We have already read this account in Luke, let us read it in Matthew and Mark.


Matthew 8:23-27, And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. 24And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 25And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. 26And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. 27But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!


Mark 4:36-41, And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?


The day of this event was the day on which Jesus had taught the crowds by means of parables on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.


The crowds lined the shore, while Jesus taught from a boat, anchored just off shore.


This method was a good way for his voice to travel and to be amplified over the water to reach the ears of the people along the shore. 


It also gave space between the crowds and Jesus so that people could properly see and hear.


Mark tells us it was evening (4:35), and our Lord had finished His teaching, so He instructed His disciples to cross the lake by boat to the other side.


They left the crowd behind on shore, but some of those who were listening from on board other little boats followed as they set out to cross the lake (Mark 4:36).


It was during the peaceful part of this trip that Jesus fell asleep on a pillow in the back of the boat (Mark 4:38).


Without warning to the men in the boats, a storm came upon the lake.


The winds blew fiercely, whipping the water into mountainous waves and because of this the boat and its passengers were in serious danger.


Some of the disciples were seasoned sailors and understood the threat of the storm even better than the rest but all of the disciples were frightened.


Jesus, at the rear of the boat, was least affected by the storm.


Much of the violent up and down motion of the boat was felt  near the bow of the boat and least at the stern.


So while they feared for their lives, Jesus, their leader, slept peacefully.


The normal reaction in a situation like this would be to  question the one who took no notice of this crisis. 


Anyone sleeping through a storm like this must not know what is going on. 


No doubt this produced irritation on the part of the disciples.


How could He be so peaceful?


How could He sleep? Why was He not even aware of their plight?


Didn’t He care?


We are only told that “the disciples went and woke Him,” but I would imagine that they were not as gentle as they might otherwise have been as they shook the Lord to rouse Him from His sleep.


The statements of the disciples differ somewhat from one gospel to another:


In Matthew 8:25, one disciple says, “Lord, save us: we perish.!”


In Luke 8:24 it is recorded as, “Master, master, we perish!”

Mark in 4:38 records it thusly, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?”


Remember that there were twelve frightened and frustrated disciples with him and each may have spoken at once or in sequence or a little of both. 


There is panic expressed in their pleas. 


Emotions have taken over in this crisis, a crisis obvious to all except the Lord.


Matthew seems to record a cry for help. “Lord, save us: we perish.!”


Luke seems to give us a statement of doom. “Master, master, we perish!”


Mark records the rebuke of one or more of the disciples for our Lord’s seeming aloofness. “Master, carest thou not that we perish?”


But awaked in such a urgent manner, Jesus stood and immediately rebuked the winds and the waves.


Instantly the winds ceased and even the waves stopped their rage at the command of this man Jesus.


We are used to waves taking their time to stop after the wind ceases but here, at the word of our Lord all was calm.


After calming the sea and quieting the wind you would think that the Lord Jesus Christ would now have understanding words for the fear that the disciples expressed. 


Now, now, men relax and calm down, no need to fear, the storm has ceased, all is at rest.


But this was not to be, for the Lord Jesus Christ had greater purposes in this stilling of the storm than to throw out platitudes of comfort to the disciples.


And he said unto them, Where is your faith?


My goodness, Jesus, what a time to talk about faith. 


Don’t you realize that it is natural for anyone to fear at a time of crisis like this? 


Don’t you have some compassion upon us instead of talking about faith at this time?


But instead of comprehending what our Lord had just said they were overwhelmed by what He had just done.


And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.


But Jesus was not about to excuse the disciples based upon  natural reactions to crises.  


The Lord Jesus expects supernatural reactions to crises and faith was to be the basis for such a reaction. 


The principle expressed in Proverbs 3:5, Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding, applies here.


All that the disciples understood was the great winds and waves.


Their eyes were on the wind and waves and not upon the Master asleep in the boat. 


Trust is not to vanish in times of crises but trust is to continue regardless of the situation in which you find yourself.


There is to be no vacation from trust in the Lord due to  circumstance, including life threatening circumstances, but trust is to be continual in the life of God’ children.


This response of the Lord to the fear of the disciples tells us that there is never an excuse for fear in God’s people for God’s grace is sufficient in every situation.