Paul Little thinks the unbeliever who is questioning that Christ is God will need a little reminder of Jesus’ ability to control nature.
In the Bible, Jesus was able to perform many miracles but no miracle is more impressive than His ability to calm the raging storm on the Sea of Galilee.
In Mark 4, the storm is described as “great” and the boat that Jesus and his Disciples were in was “shaking”. In Matthew 8: 24 it says the boat was in danger of being swamped.
Pastor Scott Harris describes the conditions that lead to such a storm: “Such storms were not unusual on the Sea of Galilee. It is a very large lake, some 13 miles long by 7 1/2 miles wide. It sits in a depression with mountains all around except at the extreme southern end where it drains out as the Jordan River. To the immediate north is Mt. Hermon rising to 9,200 feet. Air currents moving across the area would be forced over Mt. Hermon where they would cool, becoming denser, heavier. They would then crash through the warmer, lighter air that would be over the Sea. The cool air down, the warm air up, the winds created what would then bank off the sides of the hills surrounding the lake and begin a swirling motion. The word used in Mark and Luke to describe this storm means a whirlwind or a storm of furious gusts. These storms would come suddenly and whip the sea into a very dangerous tempest. Such was the storm in the middle of which the disciples found themselves.” [from Harris’ sermon “Storm at Sea”].
What is Jesus doing in the middle of this dramatic storm? He was asleep. Here is a solid indication of His humanity because He has had a tiring day and He needs rest. Here also is an indication of His faith in His Father because He is able to ignore these life-threatening conditions because He knows He is going to be all right.
His condition is not the same as the disciples. They think they are going to die. They rush to Jesus and say things like “Don’t you care that we are perishing?” and “master, master we are perishing.”
They are at the end of their rope. They need His help. They have seen Him cast out demons, feed masses of people with very little provisions and even heal the afflicted but now they ask Him to control nature.
They knew their way around the Sea of Galilee. They knew about these storms and they knew they were in real danger. They were shocked in Jesus’ ability to sleep and they were shocked in His response to their cries. “How frightened you are, you men of little faith.”
Jesus has complete faith in God.
The disciples knew the Psalms: Psalm 46: 1-3, that God is our refuge no matter if the mountains fall, the earth gives way or the sea surges. They know Psalm 107: 23-30 when God stirred up the waves and then calmed them.
But in this situation they had “skin in the game.” They were in the sea and it was threatening their lives and like most of us, they forgot the words of God and their faith has flown out the window.
Jesus awakens and rebukes them and then basically says “hush” to the waves and they instantly become calm.
For the Disciples this was a watershed moment. They had seen Jesus do miracles but not on this scale. They say “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”
In Mark, Jesus calms the storm after walking on the water. The change is evident in the words about the Disciples “They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened. Now they see that Jesus is Divine.
Is His control of nature the deciding factor?
What kind of man has authority over nature to command it in the manner of Jesus so that even what we would call natural law is broken? Only a man who is in fact God, and that is who Jesus is.
Stop and think about this calming of the waters. Think about what this means as you use this incident to get an unbeliever to question their unbelief.
Who controls nature? God.
Why? Because He created nature.
Jesus controls nature.
Why? Because He is God.