Authority Over The Weather: Mathew 8:23-27
“23) And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24) And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25) And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26) And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27) And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”” Matthew‬ ‭8‬:‭23‬-‭27‬ ‭
They now got in a boat to cross over the Sea of Galilee. This was most likely a boat from the fleet of the sons of Zebedee. Four of the disciples were former fishermen. Peter, Andrew, James and John had spent their lives in boats on the Sea of Galilee. They were now on their own turf. They were home. They were in control. It was time for Jesus to relax and take a nap.
Do you ever feel that way? You are so confident and in control that you don’t need God? You’ve got this one covered without Him!
Then the unexpected happened. That’s usually when the big storm hits. The winds began to rage, the boat was being smashed by the waves. They were close to sinking. They were out of control. They were filled with fear.
But where was Jesus? This amazes me… He was sound asleep! He was peacefully sleeping right through the raging storm.
Then they awoke Him saying, “Save us, Lord, we are perishing!” They saw no need to appeal to Him until things were totally out of control. That’s usually the point at which most people turn to prayer. Most people turn to God as their last resort.
Then the most amazing thing happened. “He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.” His actions sucked the raging energy right out of the waves. The sea instantly became as flat as glass. The outward storm suddenly aligned with His inward calm.
Most people need to ponder this for a while to appreciate the magnitude of this miracle. The waves were most likely several feet high and smashing against the boat. These waves were going to rage all across the Sea of Galilee until they hit the rocks on shore.
The waves had momentum and were loaded with energy. But at His rebuke, the wave about to smash against the boat suddenly flattened out and became perfectly calm. But it wasn’t just the next wave about to hit the boat; all the waves on the entire sea suddenly flattened out and became perfectly calm.
According to the laws of physics … that’s impossible… except under one condition. “An object in motion stays in motion until it is met by an equal or greater force in the opposite direction.” Conclusion: the words and authority of Jesus were a greater force than strong winds and raging waves.
Let me put this in perspective and illustrate the laws of physics at play in this story. Let’s assume we have an intersection where a street crosses a railway track. From one direction comes a small subcompact car down the road at 50 MPH. But on the rail tracks a mile long train is also coming at 50 MPH with the momentum of thousands of tons of energy stored in all of those moving train cars. What’s going to happen when car and train collide at the intersection? Because the car is not a force big enough to counter the force of the train, it will be utterly destroyed as it immediately changes course to match the direction and momentum of the energy of the train.
Now back to our story. The energy in all of those waves raging in motion on the sea of Galilee far surpasses the energy stored in the mile long train mentioned above. What about the energy in the little boat? It was already at the mercy of the waves. It was being tossed about like a piece of drift wood.
We can now appreciate this story. Jesus suddenly stood up in the little boat and rebuked the winds and the sea. Result: The winds and waves were suddenly met by a greater force! They became perfectly calm. Let me emphasize; the laws of physics would conclude that the waves and winds were countered by a force equal too or greater than themselves. (This gives me goose bumps!)
I know the disciples were not physicists, but look at their response to what they witnessed; “27) … What kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” Raging seas take hours to calm down, but Jesus did it instantly! This miracle made a greater impression on them than all the healings they had previously witnessed. Why? It was monumental!
This miracle is in the category of God dividing the Red Sea under Moses or stopping up the Jordan River under Joshua. It begs the question; “Who is this man, that even the winds and the sea obey Him.”
You cannot read this story and conclude that Jesus was just and ordinary man. Let’s add together the evidence presented by Matthew: He had authority in His Teaching, He had authority over leprosy, He had authority over time and space, He had authority over Himself, and now He had authority over the weather… and Matthew is not done with his report about Jesus yet!
We can now understand the growing suspicion of the disciples about the identity of Jesus Christ… “What kind of man is this?” They were beginning to suspect that the Son of man was indeed the Son of God.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global