FULL of truth for us today is the Gospel account of our Lord stilling the tempest (Matt. 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25). Matthew tells us (8:18) that when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave orders to depart unto the other side of the sea. There is a time to mix with and minister to the crowd, and there is also a time to leave the crowd. Some of us, in our zeal to serve, stay with the crowd when we need to get away for rest and renewed strength.
Mark says the disciples took the Lord “even as He was” in the ship. Tired from the busy day, He soon fell asleep. The storm must have been terrific, for these disciples were seasoned fishermen for the most part, used to the waves, and yet they were alarmed. But no matter how fierce the tempest, they had seen our Lord perform His miracles, had witnessed His power over nature, and they should not have given way to panic. How typical of human nature! We believe in a Christ who works wonders. We believe, theoretically, in His supernatural power, but when the actual crisis arises, we are terrified. No wonder that He asks, “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?” This incident has been misinterpreted again and again. We have heard it applied in this way: Christ asleep in the boat is Christ in the believer, dormant, not called into action; but when the crisis arises, we may call upon Him and be delivered. But this is erroneous. If the disciples had more faith they would not have awakened our Lord, they would have let Him sleep. It was fear and not faith that led them to arouse Him. Besides, Christ is not supposed to be a dormant guest in our hearts, to be aroused only in emergency. He abides in us, and if we trusted as we ought we would rest in peace in any storm because, although at times He may seem to be asleep, we are sure of the fact of His presence—and that is enough.
We have grown accustomed to hearing this familiar story, but if we valued it aright we would cry out as did these disciples: “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Here He manifested His power over wind and wave, for all things are subject to Him by whom and for whom all things were made.
Mark also adds the significant little note: “And there were also with him other little ships.” We are not alone upon life’s sea. Other lives share in our blessing; and if the Lord is with us, His benefits to us reach out and indirectly bless others. All the little ships profited from our Lord’s presence in one ship. The ship that carries Jesus liveth not unto itself. Even lives in which He does not dwell personally are benefitted by His presence in our lives.
Is the Lord in your boat? At times He may seem asleep. He may answer you not a word. He may tarry as He did in Lazarus’ sickness. But rest assured that if He be present, all things shall work together for good. Do not awaken Him in panic; rest upon His word, “Where is your faith?”
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