The miracles of Jesus: The winds & waves

Matthew 8, Mark 4, Luke 8 & John 6

Even a casual reading of the events and teaching of our Lord in the first century reveal His disciples were always a step behind. Though eye witnesses to miraculous events and authoritative teachings they every time seemed to struggle with the person of Jesus.

The feelings are not unlike those felt concerning Moses in the Old Testament though in that case Moses was doing the work of God. Jesus of course is the Emmanuel, “God is with us.” Humans have always struggled with the ways of God…Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.

In our previous miracles of Jesus He has made water wine, demanded the attention of evil spirits, healed many sick and even restored life. Now we will study two miracles where the Sea of Galilee plays a chief part. The sea is not impressive as it does not rank in the top 30 in the world. It is 13 miles in length & 71/2 wide. One claim to fame is the surface is 700 feet below sea level. These facts alone make it treacherous to cross in the very high winds and rough seas, called squalls, it has produced.

Matthew 8:23-27 None of the Synoptics informs us why Jesus wanted to cross the sea at that time. Certainly, He was physically tired as is evidenced by straight away finding a place to rest in the boat and went fast asleep. They were not crossing the entire length, only about 4 or 5 miles. But even that would take them out of sight of the shore in a storm. The wind was so violent even experienced sailors such as James, John and others were afraid their lives were loss. “Lord Save us ! We are perishing!”

Jesus noted their lack of faith. Shipwreck is the danger all suffer when our faith begins to fail. He stopped the wind thus removing the cause of the waves so fearful to the boats passengers.

Matthew 8:27 NKJV So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” Perhaps they awakened Jesus to help man the ship against the sea. Certainly, they thought He could or at least should help. But though welcomed, It was not what they had expected. Again they were not yet in touch with the Lord.

Matthew 14:22-23 The feeding of the 5,000 is recorded in all four Gospel accounts. Immediately following the 5,000 only Matthew, Mark and John tell of Jesus walking on the water. Jesus had received word of the murder of John the Baptist.

Taking a boat to the eastern side of Galilee He needed time alone and to escape the crowds. But they followed and He feed the 5,000. Sending the multitude away and the disciples on to another boat to precede Him, He goes up on a mountain and
alone He prays. Perhaps John’s death has reminded Him of what He will endure. Whatever the reason Jesus need time to return to God to but into perspective the events of the day.

Adam Clark reminds us the proper dispositions and circumstances for praying are:

  1. Retirement from the world
  2. Elevation of the heart to God
  3. Solitude
  4. Silence and quiet of the night

It was in the wee small hours of the morning (3am to 6am) Jesus comes to the boat walking on the water. Again confused by the Lord, for they could not believe it was Jesus and imagined a ghost. He calms their fears. Matthew 14:28 (NKJV) And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” He climbs over the side and begins to walk on the water. Then becoming afraid begins to sink. Jesus catches him and Peter is saved.

Back in the boat the winds subside and the waves clam. Matthew 14:33 NKJV Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” Most believe it was the sailors & or the passengers and surely not the disciples. Given all they had seen it would be strange to only now conclude Him to be the son of God.

It was not and is not Jesus intent to confuse the Issue of who He is. Indeed He has all authority on earth. Matthew 28:18. He was at that time the Son of God Immanuel. It is our inability to recognize God for we are so close to the common and unclean. Like a child taken from abusive parents at age 16 can not comprehend the love and attention foster parents extend to him without condition.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What was the approximate length and width of the Sea of Galilee?
  2. What did the Disciples say to Jesus when afraid for their lives?
  3. What did Jesus plan to do when He sent the disciples ahead of Him?
  4. What did the Disciples believe about Jesus when they saw Him walking on the Sea?
  5. After Jesus stilled the storm and quieted the waves, how did the disciple react? How did this miracle contribute to their understanding of Jesus? And yours?
  6. What caused Peter to sink in the water? What lesson can we learn? How can we apply it to our faith today?
  7. What do the miracles of Jesus over nature teach Christians about the Man who died on the cross for their sins?
  8. What lessons for our faith can we take from the miracle of Jesus?