The Stilling Of the Storm: In My View

Matt. 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25.

In my view, the significance of this miracle of nature as presented by Matthews lies in the theological teachings (which as acts of the "King of the Jews"), it contains. Like the healing miracles, they can probably be best understood against the background of the Old Testament.

In the Old Testament, the restless sea is treated as the symbol of the troubled and sinful world. The power of God is supremely demonstrated through Jesus by His authority and rule over the wind and the waves. The author is attempting to say to his Jewish readers that they should put their faith in the Son of God, as the One who fulfills God's promises to them; that Jesus is the Messiah and hope of Israel. Israel therefore should become disciples and stay faithful in the knowledge that He will deliver, rule and guide His people.

The scene in the boat as it begins to sail is one of Mark's portrayals of Jesus' humanity and those qualities that caused men to recognize Him as Savior of the world. The storm on the lake gives the picture of the trials and dangers of Jesus' own life during this era. Mark illustrates the Servant's weariness and need for rest.

There may also be some implicit message in the story for the church universal. Tertullian is often quoted as saying:

"That little ship presented a figure of the Church, in that she is disquieted by the sea, that is, in the world, by the waves, that is, by persecutions and temptations, the Lord patiently sleeping, as it were, until, roused at last by the prayers of the saints, He checks the world and restores tranquility to His own."

The Lukan periscope manifests Jesus in His majestic power, as a miracle worker commanding obedience of the natural elements. The emphasis is not so much on Jesus' spoken words as it is the power of His word. Jesus is depicted in action, being used to bring deliverance and protection to His own disciples. The Christology of the "stilling of the storm" is obvious: Jesus delivers.

The disciples were in the same boat with Jesus. In all the difficulties and dangers of the Christian life, during the whole journey upon the waves, often agitated by the storms of life, we are always in the same boat with Jesus, if we are obedient to His will. It may seem to us that He is sleeping; nevertheless, if our Redeemer allows the tempest to rise and our faith gives way to our fears, we shall not perish since we are with Him in the storm. Christ Jesus' security is our own. Come what may, we shall not perish as long as we don't jump ship.

Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. http://www.clergyservices4u.org. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: My Grief Management Workbook, will be available soon.

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