In Matthew 8 (as well as Luke 4 and Mark 8) we read of the trip across the sea of Galilee by Jesus and the disciples after an arduous time of ministering to multitudes of the needy. As they were in the midst of their journey with Jesus asleep in the back of the boat, a tremendous storm arose, filling the small craft with water and terrifying them all, including the seasoned fisherman of the group (including Peter, Andrew, James and John, for whom this would clearly not have been their first experience with such weather!). Mark’s account includes one of the numerous “stupid questions” that was often on the lips of His followers: “Master, don’t you care that we perish?” – Mark 4:38.
Jesus response was immediate. Rising from His sleep he rebuked the wind, and told the sea to be still (the Greek word here, φιμόω, comes from the noun for a “muzzle”. In essence He told the storm to “Hush!”. The result was an instantaneous cessation of the storm as the sea became tranquil, as smooth as a pane of glass.
The most amazing part of this story is the response of the disciples in the face of this extraordinary event. They did not respond in gratitude, nor did they seek understanding of how He was able to accomplish this feat. To a man, they asked one of the wisest questions they would ever utter: “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and seas obey Him?!” (Matt. 8:27, Mark 4:41, Luke 8:25). My paraphrase: “Who IS this Guy?!”
The fear they had at this terrifying storm was nothing in comparison to their fearful wonder in the face of this demonstration of His dominion and power!
I wonder how often we appreciate the awesomeness of our God. When Jill asked Aslan if He ate girls (in C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair), the author pens the Lion’s response:
“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
If you have never found yourself prostrate in front of the our God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, it may be that you’ve never truly been in His presence!