Delivered from Fear

Matt 8:23-27

SS Lesson for 06/13/2021

 

Devotional Scripture: Ps 107:23-32

Lesson Background and Key Verse

Background from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

Context can cause a question to be answered in different ways. It all depends on when, where, why, how, and by whom it is asked. As an honest inquiry into what causes fear, we know that people experience fears of various kinds. Some common fears are fears of open spaces (agoraphobia) and closed spaces (claustrophobia). Much rarer is a fear of dogs (cynophobia) and of cats (ailurophobia). Between these two is a list that is virtually endless. And fears are very individualized. Sometimes they seem to make little sense—such as fear of mice on the part of a strong, smart person. Fears may be connected with traumas that have left an indelible mark on a person. There is another way we can use the title question: it can be meant rhetorically—as a statement rather than an inquiry. The sense is something like, “You know that you have no reason to be afraid.” We all wish that we could say this to ourselves and our fears would disappear. Unfortunately, fear tends to persist even when we try to reason ourselves out of it. Fear, as a God-given self-defense mechanism, can trigger a reaction of fight, flight, or freeze. The problem is that the particular reaction that results may be irrationally inappropriate or even harmful in a given context. At lower levels, chronic fear can ruin appetite, raise blood pressure, and cause ulcers. Fear itself can kill. Our text today is about a situation that provoked fear: the fear of death in a deadly situation. How Jesus spoke and acted in the face of that fear can teach us much about the Lord we serve.

 

Jesus’ ministry in Matthew’s Gospel takes place mostly in Galilee, the northern portion of ancient Israel. The region was named for the body of water at its center, known in the New Testament as the Sea of Galilee or the Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1). It is about 41,000 acres in size, about 12 miles north to south and 7.5 miles east to west. Its size makes it more of a “lake” than a “sea”; by contrast, Lake Erie is about 150 times as large as the Sea of Galilee. Indeed, the latter is referred to as “the Lake of Gennesaret” in Luke 5:1. Nestled between steep hills on the east and west, one could stand on the hills and see to the other side. The distance would require much effort to row from one side to the other. The Sea of Galilee was a center of fishing during the time of Jesus. Some of his 12 disciples had been fishermen there (Matthew 4:18-22). These men had much experience with this lake and its dangers. In addition to fishing, the inhabitants of the area used the lake as a medium of transportation from one village to another. Rowing across the sea was faster than the alternative of walking around on shore. We can imagine that on a typical day the sea was dotted with small boats—some fishing, some carrying travelers. On most days, those boats carried their passengers safely.

 

Following the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, which sets forth Jesus’ authority in teaching, chapters 8-9 focuses largely on Jesus’ miracles. These demonstrate his authority in actions as they consistently pointed to a power that could belong to God alone. With a word, Jesus was able to heal the sick (Matthew 8:5-13), cleanse leprosy (Luke 17:12-19), cast out evil spirits (Mark 7:24-30), and command the forces of nature (Mark 11:12-14, 19-21). His miracles established that Jesus was either the most wonderful prophet ever sent by God or that he was something more than a prophet. Jesus did not use his divine power for his own benefit (compare Matthew 4:1-11; 26:53). His miracles were for the sake of others, especially those whose situation seemed hopeless. As such, the miracles were signs that God’s kingdom—his promised reign over all creation that restores his righteous purpose—was breaking into the world. God’s reign would vanquish the sin-threat and its consequences. God’s people would then live in his presence, safe and secure, for eternity. Jesus’ miracles demonstrated that promised future. His enemies attributed his ability to satanic powers (Matthew 12:24) and mocked him (27:42). Still, Jesus made salvation possible by giving of his life. His resulting resurrection was his greatest act of power. But as we begin today’s text, that is yet a year or so in the future. (The events of today’s lesson text are also recorded in Mark 4:35-41 and Luke 8:22-25.)

 

Key Verse: Matthew 8:26

But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

 

Commentary from the Bible Knowledge Commentary

8:1-4. Significantly the first healing Matthew recorded was that of a man with leprosy. But Jesus had performed several miracles before that (see the list of Jesus’ miracles at John 2:1-11). He came to Jesus, acknowledging His authority as Lord (cf. 7:21; 8:6). Jesus healed him—He touched the leper! (v. 3)—and then told him to go... to the priest and offer the proper sacrifice for cleansing from leprosy, as Moses prescribed (Lev. 14; two birds, wood, yarn, and hyssop on the first day [Lev. 14:4-8]; and on the eighth day two male lambs, a ewe lamb, flour, and oil [Lev. 14:10]). Jesus told him not to tell anyone before he went to the priest. Apparently Jesus wanted the priest to be the first to examine him. Jesus said this would be a testimony to the priests. And so it was, for in the entire history of the nation there was no record of any Israelite being healed from leprosy other than Miriam (Num. 12:10-15). One can imagine the dramatic impact when this man suddenly appeared at the temple and announced to the priests he had been cured of leprosy! This event should have led to an examination of the circumstances surrounding the healing. Jesus in effect was presenting His “calling card” to the priests, for they would have to investigate His claims. (The healed man, however, disobeyed Jesus’ orders to tell no one, for he “began to talk freely” [Mark 1:45]. Presumably, however, the man eventually made his way to the temple.)

8:5-13. The second miracle dealing with disease also reflected on Jesus’ authority. As He entered Capernaum, a Roman centurion came... asking for help (see Luke 7:2). This Gentile approached Jesus as Lord (as did the leper, Matt. 8:2) and requested healing for a servant of his. Luke has doulos (“slave”), whereas Matthew has pais (“boy”), which may suggest the slave was young. He was paralyzed and suffering intensely, and he was near death (Luke 7:2). When Jesus said He would go and heal him, the centurion replied that would not be necessary. As a man who was used to giving orders, he understood the principle of authority. One with authority does not need to be present to accomplish a task. Orders may be carried out by others even at a distance. Jesus marveled at the centurion’s great faith (cf. Matt. 15:28), for this was the kind of faith He was vainly looking for in Israel. Faith such as this made entrance into His kingdom possible, regardless of national, racial, or geographical residence (the East and the West). (Eating at a banquet often pictured being in the kingdom; cf. Isa. 25:6; Matt. 22:1-14; Luke 14:15-24.) But those who thought they would automatically gain entrance because of their religious backgrounds (they considered themselves subjects [lit., “sons”] of the kingdom) would not find entrance (Matt. 8:12). Instead they would be cast into judgment (thrown outside, into the darkness; cf. 22:13). Regarding weeping and gnashing of teeth, see  13:42. In light of this centurion’s faith, Jesus healed his servant at that very hour.

8:14-15. As Jesus entered Peter’s house in Capernaum, He saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. Jesus’ touch brought healing from the fever, but a further miracle was also evident. The woman was also given strength to get up from her bed and immediately be involved in work, waiting (diēkonei, “serving”) on the Lord and the many disciples who were still actively following Him. Usually when a fever leaves, one’s body is weak for some time, but that was not true here.

8:16-17 (Mark 1:32-34; Luke 4:40-41). As Jesus stayed in Peter’s home, many... demon-possessed people were brought to Him. Matthew simply recorded that Jesus healed them all, in fulfillment of words spoken through... Isaiah (Isa. 53:4). His taking our infirmities (astheneias) and carrying our diseases (nosous) was finally accomplished on the cross in His death. But in anticipation of that event, Jesus performed many definite acts of healing in His ministry. By casting out demons, Jesus demonstrated His power over Satan, ruler of the demon world (cf. Matt. 9:34; 12:24).

8:18-20 (Luke 9:57-58). A teacher of the Law (a scribe) came to Jesus and, seemingly without thinking, blurted out, Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go. Though Jesus desired disciples who would follow Him and work in His harvest fields, He wanted only those who were properly motivated. Jesus’ reply to this scribe demonstrated His lowly character for He, in contrast with animals such as foxes and birds, did not even have a place where He could lay His head at night. He had no permanent home. The Lord obviously knew the heart of this person and saw that he desired fame in following a prominent Teacher. Such was not Jesus’ character. This is the first of numerous times Jesus referred to Himself or was called by others the Son of Man (29 times in Matt., 14 in Mark, 24 in Luke, 13 in John). It points to Jesus as the Messiah (cf. Dan. 7:13-14).

8:21-22 (Luke 9:59-60). A second man, already a disciple of Jesus, requested that he be permitted to return home and bury his father. This man’s father was not dead or even at the point of death. This disciple was simply saying he wanted to return home and wait until his father died. Then he would return and follow Jesus. His request demonstrated he felt discipleship was something he could pick up or lay down at will. He put material concerns ahead of Jesus, for he apparently wanted to receive the estate when his father died. Jesus’ response, Let the dead bury their own dead, showed that following Him carried with it the highest priority. Jesus said that the physically dead could be cared for by those who are spiritually dead.

8:23-27. Another realm over which Jesus has authority is nature. This was proved as Jesus and His disciples started across the Sea of Galilee, a sea notorious for sudden storms that swept across it. However, in the midst of a furious storm (lit., “great earthquake,” i.e., great turbulence), Jesus was asleep. The disciples, fearful of imminent death, awakened Jesus. First He rebuked them: You of little faith (cf. 6:30), why are you so afraid? Then He... rebuked the winds and the waves and there was absolute calm. His disciples who were seasoned fishermen had been through storms on this sea that had suddenly ceased. But after the wind would pass, the waves would continue to chop for a while. No wonder Matthew recorded their amazement as they wondered what kind of Man He is. They were amazed (ethaumasan; cf. 9:33) at the supernatural character of the One whose rebuke was sufficient to bring nature into perfect peace. This the Messiah will do when He institutes His kingdom, as He did when He revealed Himself to His disciples.

8:28-34 (Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39). A more detailed account of Jesus’ authority in the demonic realm is seen in these verses. Jesus arrived... in the region of the Gadarenes. The name “Gadarenes” comes from the town of Gadara, the capital of the region about eight miles southeast of the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee. Mark and Luke wrote that the place was “the region of the Gerasenes” (Mark 5:1; Luke 8:26). There Jesus met... two demon-possessed men. Mark and Luke wrote of one demon-possessed man, but they did not say only one. Presumably one of the two was more violent than the other. The influence of the demons on these men was obvious for they were wild, violent men, forced out of the city and living in a graveyard (tombs). The demons’ two questions implied they knew who Jesus is—the Son of God—and also that His coming would ultimately mean their doom (Matt. 8:29). Rather than being forced to become disembodied spirits, the demons requested permission to enter a nearby large herd of pigs. Mark stated that this herd numbered “about 2,000” (Mark 5:13). As soon as the demons entered them, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake, the Sea of Galilee, and drowned. Obviously, those keeping the herd were frightened and went into the nearby town to report this incredible event. The people of the town went out, and because of fear (Luke 8:37), pleaded with Jesus... to leave their region.

 

Major Theme Analysis

(Scriptural Text from the New King James Version; cross-references from the NIV)

Jesus' Answer to Fears (Matt 8:23-27)

 

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.

24 Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.

25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"

26 He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"

 

Follow Jesus (23)

Following Jesus represents the right priorities in life (Matt 16:24-26)

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.  26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Following Jesus represents safety in the presence of Jesus (John 12:26)

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

Following Jesus assures eternal victory (John 10:27-28)

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

Following Jesus means realizing that Jesus is the only way (John 6:67-68)

67 "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

 

Know storms in life will come (24)

God wants us to see storms as opportunities for growth (Genesis 35:10)

God said to him, "Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel." So he named him Israel.

 

Commentary from Life Application Notes

God reminded Jacob of his new name, Israel, which meant "he struggles with God." Although Jacob's life was littered with difficulties and trials, his new name was a tribute to his desire to stay close to God despite life's disappointments. Many people believe that Christianity should offer a problem-free life. Consequently, as life gets tough, they draw back disappointed. Instead, they should determine to prevail with God through life's storm. Problems and difficulties are painful but inevitable; you might as well see them as opportunities for growth. You can't prevail with God unless you have troubles to prevail over.

God knows that storms will come, but He wants us to depend on Him who made all things (John 1:3-5)

3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

 

Commentary from Life Application Notes

Do you ever feel that your life is too complex for God to understand? Remember, God created the entire universe, and nothing is too difficult for him. God created you; he is alive today, and his love is bigger than any problem you may face.

Storms are opportunities to have faith in God (Acts 27:22-25)

22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.  23 Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me  24 and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.'  25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.

 

Call on Jesus (25)

Call on Jesus for mercy and believe He has power to do all things (Matt 9:27-28)

27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!"  28 When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" "Yes, Lord," they replied.

Call on Jesus because there is no difference in person with Him (Rom 10:12)

For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,

Call on Jesus out of a pure heart (2 Tim 2:22)

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

God is forgiving and good to all who call to Him (Ps 86:5)

You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.

God is near to all who call on Him (Ps 145:18)

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Call to God for insight and understanding (Prov 2:3-5)

3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,  4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,  5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

 

Faith dispels fear (26)

Faith in the strength of God dispels fear (Isaiah 41:10) 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you;  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 Jesus gives a peace that is beyond anything in the world (John 14:27)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

God gives us a spirit of power not fear (2 Tim. 1:7)

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

The love of God drives out fear (1 John 4:18)

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

 

Jesus has the power to bring calm (27)

The calmness of God transcends all understanding (Phil 4:7)

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

There is calmness that comes out of being in godly unity (Phil 2:1-2)

1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,  2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.

Never worry, trust in God and He will deliver and He will provide calm (Matt 6:31-33)

31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'  32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

 

Conclusion and Other Thoughts

Commentary Thoughts from Allen Ross

Analysis of the Text

The text is brief, so this part of the study should be brief as well. But if we work through the passage now, section by section, we may observe certain things that help us gain the message.

I. The disciples ask the Lord to save them in the storm (23, 24). We have already discussed the boat and the storm so that we do not need to reiterate that now. Here we can simply note that it was Jesus who got into the boat (to escape the crowds) and the disciples followed Him. I would not make too much of their following Him (some folks make a spiritual point out of some common statements), because the word is used even for the crowds of unbelievers who followed Him where He went. Here it simply reports that they went with Him in the boat.

When the storm came up, He was asleep, but they were in a panic. The other accounts describe their fear more than Matthew, but you can hear it in their words to Jesus in Matthew’s account as well: “We’re going to drown.” A number of these men were experienced fishermen, who had been on the lake in storms before. But here they were afraid. This indicates the severity of this storm.

Jesus’ sleep is significant to consider for a moment. Here we have a very human characteristic. He was exhausted from His ministry with the crowds, and so in the boat He was asleep during the storm. It is a reminder that Jesus was truly human.

Their words are interesting: “Lord, save us.” In their experience this was a simple and urgent request. They did not want to drown. But as is often the case in the gospels, words like this are retained in the Christian community with added meaning. Kyrie soson, “Lord, save,” became a part of the liturgical language of the church. It is the basic cry to the Lord for help by a needy people.

II. Jesus calmed the storm to encourage their faith (v. 26). The first thing that Jesus did in response to their request was to rebuke their weak faith: “O you of little faith, why are you afraid?” They were right to ask Jesus to save them--and their request shows that they had faith that He could save them. But it was their fear that betrayed the weakness of their faith. They were in a panic when they came to Him, not in confidence. He did not rebuke them for waking Him to ask Him to save them, but for waking Him in fear. They had been with Jesus for over a year now (judging from the chronology); they should have had more confidence after hearing all His teachings and seeing all the miracles He did (“little faith” is also used in 6:30; 14:31; 16:8; 17:20; and Luke 12:28). But, the circumstances of the storm on the sea terrified them and they thought they were going to drown—even though in their presence was the Son of Man. Hence, the question, “Why are you afraid?” It is a rhetorical question not meant to be answered, but meant to tell them that since He was there they had nothing to fear.

Then, after this Jesus rebuked the winds and the waves and they became calm. Here we see the power of His word over nature. He had already done miracles by His powerful word, and now here He did another over the storm. Of course, some of the more liberal writers would say it was simply a coincidence that the sudden storm would also have a quick ending, and Jesus, knowing that, rebuked it at the right moment. But that does not make much sense, for these seasoned sailors thought they were going to drown right up to the moment that Jesus calmed the storm. Surely they could have seen a sudden calm too if that had been the case. This is a miracle by Christ, demonstrating His power over the storm.

The use of the word “rebuke” is interesting and deserves some study. It is used usually against things that ought not to be, such as the weak faith of the disciples. But it gives us also a clue that the storm, although only a storm, is a symptom of something else about nature.

Now Jesus is revealed in His power. He might truly be a man, but He is also clearly the “Son of Man” (see Matt. 16:21-23; based on Daniel 7:13-14). This was the Messiah, the one everyone believed would be the Lord of all the earth.

The effect of Jesus’ powerful command was to calm the storm on the sea, but also to calm their fears. By taking care of the troubling circumstances of life Jesus was able to take away their fears and build their faith in Him. He had not rebuked their weak faith simply to point out their weakness; He had rebuked their faith in order to show a weakness that He was now about to resolve. They would look back on this and always remember His “Why are you afraid?” because they would not be so afraid again in His presence.

This becomes the powerful thrust of the passage to all subsequent believers. Even though there are so many things in life that threaten our lives and cause us to fear, the more we know the Lord and His power, the less we will be afraid. Our prayer for deliverance from our troubles will be less and less out of fear and desperation and more out of confidence.

III. The disciples are amazed at His power (v. 27). Their response is amazement! They had never seen anything like this. And so their question is “What kind of man is this?” It too is a rhetorical question, not designed to be answered, but to express the idea that there is no one like this. What other person can speak and have the winds and the waves obey His voice? — clearly, no one.

So Matthew uses their words to drive home his point that Jesus is truly unique, for He is sovereign over nature. This one truly has authority.

Old Testament Connections

This passage does not quote from the Old Testament, so we are left to make connections with the theme—one who controls the elements of nature by His word. Of course, in the Old Testament, this is descriptive of the LORD God. One thinks immediately of creation where by His word the LORD brought everything into existence, even including controlling the seas (Gen. 1). This theme of controlling the seas was stressed in Job 38:8-11. That idea was important in the Bible, for the seas were always the symbol of chaos. To control them was to show sovereignty over the chaos that was in the universe. In fact, throughout the ancient Near East the sea was the symbol of Sheol, the abyss, the evil enemy. But God is portrayed as mightier than the raging seas (Ps. 93).

The 29th psalm is also a good one to connect with this study. That psalm describes a thunderstorm growing in the Mediterranean Sea and sweeping inland over Lebanon, causing damage to the trees and shaking the hills with an earthquake. All of that is said to be “the voice of the LORD” (not of Baal, the storm god of Canaan where that storm was situated). The psalm closes by reminding the reader that God sat sovereignly at the great Flood (Gen. 6-8). So in the Old Testament God alone has the authority to command and control nature, especially the chaotic element of nature like this huge storm in Psalm 29. For additional references, see Pss. 65:5-7; 89:9; 107:23-32. Even something like the story of the battle of Deborah against Sisera (Judg. 4, 5) would be of interest as well since God caused a huge thunderstorm to assist Israel.

When Jesus calmed the storm, then, He was demonstrating that He has the power of heaven at His command. The disciples’ wonder at what kind of a man this was could ultimately be answered only by an understanding of the incarnation, God with us.

New Testament Correlations

And yet the disciples were looking at a man, a human being, who had some special kind of authority over nature. Here was a man having dominion over the earth and the sea. Psalm 8 had said that God made man a little lower than the angels and gave him dominion over creation. Everything was to be subjected to mankind (Gen. 1:27,28). The writer to the Hebrews quotes from that 8th psalm, and then says, “Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him, but we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor . . .”(2:5-9). Jesus is the second Adam, as the Bible expresses it, beginning another race—the righteous seed.

In these nature miracles, though, Jesus was demonstrating what God had intended for humans to be. This is one reason why He chose to designate Himself as the Son of Man, a Messianic title from Daniel 7:13-14 to be sure, but also a way of describing Himself as the authentic man, invested with power, humble, obedient, and finally exalted.

Jesus’ power over all nature is referred to at the very beginning of the Book of Hebrews, for it begins by reminding us that Jesus is sustaining all things by His powerful (spoken) word (1:3). Sometimes the powerful word of the Lord is described in very vivid pictures, such as in Revelation as the sharp, two-edged sword that comes out of His mouth and will strike the nations (19:15).

Conclusion and Application

The message of the passage is rather straightforward: Jesus has authority over nature. This is part of the overall presentation of the king in these chapters as one who has the authority to do all the things that He said He came to do. The authority that Jesus has is usually demonstrated by His mighty works, His miracles. And while some of those miracles seem to be less spectacular than others, they all reveal to us the nature of the Son of God who does not have the limitations we now have.

What does this mean for us? First, it should help us to build our faith, our confidence in Christ. We do not follow a simple itinerant preacher from Galilee; we follow Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God. Nothing is impossible for Him.

Second, our faith may be expressed in our prayers to Him, “Lord, save us” — from any of the dangers and troubles of life that we face. It is interesting to note that here Jesus answered their prayer/plea and calmed the storm even though they had “little faith.” Any turning to Him in prayer is an act of faith. Jesus did not rebuke them for their request. It is the proper thing to do.

Third, the more we see the power of the Lord, both in the Bible and in the experiences of believers around us (and in our own lives), the more our confidence will grow. We will always struggle with fears in this life, because the world is not a safe place. But gradually as we learn more and more in the faith, as the disciples did over several years, we will become bolder and more confident in the Lord (look at the confidence of the disciples in Acts 2-4). But building faith is a process, and so we have to be patient and continue to develop it. And the comforting thing is that even in our fears and terrors, our weak faith, we may cry to the Lord: “Lord, if you are willing, save/heal/deliver/protect . . . .” And often He answers our prayers in ways that we can only marvel, and say, “What manner of man is this?”

                                       (Adapted from URL:https://bible.org/seriespage/10-peace-be-still-matthew-823-27)

 

Concluding Thoughts from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

What do you fear? Typically, the things that make us most afraid are those that threaten us in some way because we can’t control them. Instead of praying first, we first try our best to gain control. But in the end we recognize that our control is very limited. Disease stalks even those who eat right and exercise. Financial crises strike even the prudent. Accidents happen to the careful. Our protective reach cannot constantly extend as far as those we love. There is a far superior alternative to trying to maintain control over our circumstances first and, when that fails, turning to the Lord. The alternative is to reverse those priorities. Because Jesus gave his life for us, we can surely trust him to do for us what he did for 12 men of little faith in a small boat—and more. The created world is filled with mortal dangers. Our reaction should be that of the psalmist: Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence (Psalm 91:1-3).

 

Concluding Thoughts from the Echoes Commentary

Calming the Storm - "Do not fear" was one of Jesus' frequent sayings. He repeated it to His followers many times and taught them lessons about being courageous. Some of those were real life lessons, like the time He overruled nature and calmed a storm. Jesus and His 12 disciples boarded a boat in Capernaum, then He laid down and went to sleep. The men ventured out into the Sea of Galilee, typically known for sudden storms, and soon the waves from a storm threatened to capsize the boat. These experienced fishermen were alarmed and afraid, but they forgot two critical things. One, the original Maker of the wind and the rain lay sleeping in their craft. And two, He said to His disciples at the beginning of the trip, let us go to the other side of the sea. He mentioned nothing about the entire crew drowning. When Jesus is present—all is well.

 

The Response of Jesus - The panic-stricken disciples woke up Jesus; they called out to Him to rescue them. The disciples considered the situation utterly hopeless. Imagine the Savior's calm demeanor. He spoke one sentence; the sea calmed down. The men stood amazed. Here was this ordinary man exercising extraordinary power. They turned to each other asking, "Who is this? Who can this be?" Perhaps they later remembered the Scripture: "O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee? Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them" (Ps. 89:8-9, KJV). "He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still" (Ps. 107:29).

 

The Important Question - When confronting a rough time, the important question to ask is, who's in your boat? Who is taking this life's journey with you? What is God telling you? Do you have "little faith" like the disciples in this passage? That usually means a failure to hear Jesus' voice. Great faith is not mustering something up. No, it's just the opposite. Great faith means to get quiet and listen to the Lord. He speaks through the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and other Christians. When traveling through the storms of life, there is no need to be afraid when Jesus is in your boat. It's a quiet time to experience His peace within.