Matthew 8:23-27. The little faith that calmed the seas.

Matthew 8:23-27

Jesus Calms the Storm

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

How much faith would it take to quiet the storms of your life?

The disciples with Jesus on this boat were probably the first four disciples – Simon Peter, his brother Andrew, James and his brother John, all of whom were fishermen before Jesus called them. In Matthew 4:18-22, Jesus called them while He was walking along the Sea of Galilee (which is interestingly actually the largest lake in Israel, but is called a sea out of tradition).

Simon Peter and Andrew were casting nets by the shoreline, using the kind of net which required five to ten men on each side to pull to the shore. James and John were on the boat preparing their circular nets which were used in deeper waters. The fisherman had to dive and pull the weight down the center and gather the fishes. There were many types and ways to use nets. Being fishermen meant that they could navigate boats, dive, are familiar with the weather, and swim well.

Storms were common in the lake because of it’s topography, yet the storm that occurred was so strong that the waves “swept over the boat” and the disciples panicked. The original word for this was kaluptó (καλύπτω), meaning “concealed, hide, swept over”.  These experienced fishermen didn’t know what to do. However, they demonstrated their trust in Jesus when they told Him to help because they were going to die.

  1. Faith is trusting
    • Less faith, more fear– Jesus first said to the disciples, “Why are you of little faith?” before rebuking the wind. Little faith. Was it not reasonable to be afraid for their lives? I would have reacted the same way. But Jesus still said that they had little faith because they were afraid for their lives. Jesus’ reply was kind and He got up and calmed the waves.
    • Little faith is all you need – Jesus says in Luke 17:6“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” ne13feb34-all-the-mustard-seed-dsc_0776altActual size of a mustard seedLittle faith, big faith. It doesn’t matter, because its power is not dependent on us, but on who we are trusting. The object of our faith is more important than the amount of our faith. This is important because we could spend our entire lives worshipping and believing a false god or belief, only to find out that our great faith was futile.11-26-keller
    • But even little faith requires action – Who sleeps in the middle of a storm, on a boat, in the largest lake in Israel, with unpredictable weather? Didn’t he get wet with the waves crashing over him? What’s more interesting is that He didn’t wake up by Himself – the disciples had to go wake Him up. I wonder what would have happened if the disciples didn’t act out their faith, would Jesus have calmed the storm or would he have let them drown? Faith requires that we go to Jesus and tell Him that we need His help.
  2. Jesus is in control – In school, we are taught about the SWOT or TOWS matrix/analysis. You are supposed to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your business. Because threats are external forces, the only thing you can do is to prepare for these in an attempt to mitigate the possible damages.
    swot-and-tows-matrix-diagrams-scottis-government-strategy-to-reduce-the-energy-and-co2-emissions

    TOWS Matrix

    The storm here was the the threat. It was out of the disciples’ control. But Jesus rose and rebuked the wind. Have you ever been in a storm, and tried to scold the wind? You can’t even speak to the wind. Maybe we should try it sometime so we’d hear how foolish it would sound like.  We are so insignificant compared to the strength of storms. But Jesus rebuked it and there was a complete calm.
  3. Everything is under Jesus’ authority – “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” The disciples were quick to learn  that Jesus was no ordinary man. Yes, He has healed the sick and preached repentance in the days before, and many prophets and priests have done that. Elijah prayed earnestly for drought for three years and six months, and it didn’t rain. But the power rested on God not on Elijah. The power and authority came from  Jesus Himself. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16).

How much faith would it take to quiet the storms of your life? Not much if it is placed on Jesus Christ alone.

  • I am grateful that God’s power is not dependent on the amount of faith that I have, otherwise, there wouldn’t have been any breakthrough in my life.
  • I am grateful that His grace is dependent on Him and on Him alone.
  • I am grateful that He is in control and has all the authority over all things, including things outside my control like calamities, or other people’s opinion.
  • I am grateful that in His greatness of moving mountains and stopping rains, He allows me to come to Him and ask for what I need and let me experience the blessings of communing with Him.
  • I am grateful that he enjoys a child-like faith, of utter dependence on Him for my life. It makes me feel so insignificant, and He appears even bigger and worthy of my worship.

My prayer is that the object of your faith be re-directed to Jesus at all times, and that your faith in Him may grow stronger as you come to know His immense authority and power over all things.

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