Calming the storm
Calming the storm is one of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels, namely in Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, and Luke 8:22-25. This episode is distinct from Jesus' walk on water which also involves a boat on the lake and appears later in the narrative, in chapter 14 of Matthew.
According to the Gospels, one evening Jesus and his disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat, when a furious storm came up, with the waves breaking over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion, but the disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" The Gospel of Mark then states that:
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"
Author Michael Keene commented that the Sea of Galilee was known for its sudden and fierce storms and that the Jews were people of the land who were generally uncomfortable at sea, specially since they believed the sea to be full of frightening creatures. The Pulpit Commentary attributes these sudden storms to winds arising on the summits of Mount Hermon, in the Anti-Lebanon mountains to the north.
The disciples were probably in a small, open fishing boat when they encountered this great storm. The original Greek word for the storm is “seismos” which literally means “a shaking” and is the term we use to get the word seismic which is descriptive of earthquakes. The violence of the storm shook the water in the lake creating waves that covered the boat and started filling it with water.
The Anglican clergyman John Clowes commented that by asking the question "Why are you so afraid?", Jesus was asking his disciples to explore in their own minds the cause and origin of fear, so they would realize that all fear has its roots in natural affection and thought, separate from spiritual affection and thought. And by asking "Do you still have no faith?" Jesus was manifestly pointing to a defect in their spiritual principles. Clowes further commented that by that last question Jesus was manifestly instructing his disciples, and through them all future generations of mankind, that fear is the constant result of the weakness of Heavenly principles in the human mind.
- Biblegateway Mark 4:35-41 Biblegateway.com
- Biblegateway Luke 8:22-25 Biblegateway.com
- Biblegateway Matthew 8:23-27 Biblegateway.com
- The People's New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock (Oct 1, 2004) ISBN 0664227546 page 126
- Mark 4:39-41.
- Michael Keene 2002 St Mark's Gospel and the Christian faith ISBN 0-7487-6775-4 page 26
- McArthur, Dr. John (1987). Matthew 8-15 MacArthur New Testament Commentary. The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. p. 33. ISBN 0-8024-0763-3.
- John Clowes, 1817 The Miracles of Jesus Christ published by J. Gleave, Manchester, UK page 47