It is interesting to note the descriptions the Gospel writers gave regarding the plight the disciples faced when a storm arose and tossed their boat on the Sea of Galilee—and to contrast those portrayals with their descriptions of conditions after Jesus took action.
- Matthew declared, “Suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves.” But after Jesus “got up and rebuked the winds and the sea…there was a great calm (8:24,26).
- Mark stated, “A fierce windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.” But Jesus “got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Silence! Be still!’ The wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (4:37,39).
- Luke wrote, “Then a fierce windstorm came down on the lake; they were being swamped and were in danger.” Awakened by the disciples, Jesus “got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves. So they ceased, and there was a calm” (8:23-24).
The fishermen among Jesus disciples knew about storms. Even after the wind died down, the waves would remain choppy for a time. Yet here an absolute calm descended at once—and prevailed. As interesting as this is, there is something else we must not miss. Let us note the “bridge” in each case between the turbulence and the calm.
- Matthew: Jesus “rebuked the winds and the sea” (8:26).
- Mark: He “rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Silence! Be still!’” (4:39).
- Luke: Jesus “rebuked the wind and the raging waves” (8:23-24).
How did Jesus wield control over the storm? With His words! We are reminded here of the creation account in Genesis, where repeatedly we read “Then God said…” (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26) and “God called…” (vv. 5, 8, 10). In Genesis 1 we also repeatedly read the phrase, “And it was so” (vv. 7, 9, 11, 15, 24, 30). Do we not see this pattern echoed in Jesus’ actions here, and the results of His actions, on the Sea of Galilee?
Even though the disciples needed greater faith to counter their fear (see Mark 4:40), and even though they still had much to learn about Jesus, they were quite on target regarding the conclusion they reached after witnessing this miracle. It was all about who Jesus was!
- Matthew: “The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this?—even the winds and the sea obey Him!” (8:27).
- Mark: “And they were terrified and asked one another, ‘Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!’” (4:41).
- Luke: “They were fearful and amazed, asking one another, ‘Who can this be? He commands even the winds and the waves, and they obey Him!’” (8:25).