On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
One of my favourite hymns during this present crisis has been the Welsh hymn by Ieuan Glan Geirionydd “Ar fôr tymhestlog, teithio rwyf…”, roughly translated “On stormy seas I travel…”. This is a crisis that has made me feel out of my depth in the grip of this frightful storm sweeping through the land. Naturally we fear for ourselves, our loved ones and the future.
The exact same kind of fear had struck the hearts and minds of the disciples in this narrative. They would have encountered storms before while fishing, so this must have been an unusually violent storm. And yet the Lord Jesus Christ is sleeping! Although wrong, it is not at all surprising that they react to the danger that they are facing by asking, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” They are worried because of their ignorance and lack of spiritual perception. They are afraid because they don’t understand, but the Saviour’s peace of mind rests on God’s Plan; he knows that it is not by drowning that he will die. Whilst they were in the boat with Jesus, they were safe.
Notice Jesus’ question – “Why are you so afraid?” and again, “Have you still no faith?” The disciples should have had faith considering that they were with Jesus and hereby lies a lesson for us. The Christian’s faith is not a “shot in the dark”. It is secure in Jesus and based on the facts of his life, death and resurrection.
We need to learn from this story that the Lord Jesus Christ has authority over the world of nature (even the wind and rain!). Nothing is impossible for him – he reigns as God and King over all.
Do you have faith today? It means to believe, trust, lean upon and rest in Jesus. It means that we confess our sin and pride, repent and believe. It’s so easy! You may be reading this without ever having placed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You can do it right now. God’s wonderful provision is in place, the table is laid and the feast prepared. Another Welsh hymnwriter said, “Am hyn, bechadur, brysia, fel yr wyt!!” – “so, dear sinner, hurry, come as you are”. Even if you feel that you lack enough faith, turn to Jesus and ask him for faith. Faith is a gift after all.
Notice how the story finishes. The disciples are afraid again, but this time it is a different kind of fear – they are in awe. At last they have glimpsed a little of the majesty of this person in the boat with them. May we, by faith, learn the same lesson. This is Christ, the Son of the living God, this is the King of Kings who holds power and authority in his hands. This is our Lord and Saviour who died for us and promises “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
May God bless you today. Keep safe.
Dewi Tudur (Eglwys Efengylaidd Ardudwy)