Jesus got into the boat and his disciples followed him. A gale arose on the lake, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, 'Lord, save us! We are perishing!' And he said to them, 'Why are you afraid, you of little faith?' Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, 'What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?'
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
In 1859 Rev Dr Buchanan wrote about what happened to him on the Sea of Galilee:
'Our conversation was suddenly disturbed by a movement among our Arab crew. All at once they pulled in their oars, stepped their mast, and began to hoist their long and very ragged lateen sail. "What can the fellows mean to do with a sail in a dead calm?" But they were right. There comes the breeze, rippling and roughening the lately glassy surface of the lake. It reaches us before the sail is rightly set. A few minutes more, and it is blowing hard. The bending and often-spliced yard threatens to give way, and the tattered sail seems as if it would rend right up, and go away in shreds. There is nothing for it but to slack away, and run before it. "And where are we going now?" was our first inquiry? "Where the wind will take us," was the reply. And away we went, the lake now all tossed into waves, and covered with foaming white heads, as if a demon had got into its lately tranquil bosom.' (from 'Notes of a Clerical Furlough')
The Sea of Galilee is about 13 x 8 miles and a fishing boat would have been about 27 x 7 feet, held about 15 people, and was powered by a sail. It would have taken 2 hours to sail from one side to the other. The storm is so great that the water is swamping the boat, but Jesus sleeps soundly after a busy day, secure in the knowledge that His Father will protect him.
The disciples have enough faith to know that Jesus can save them, even though they have let their panic overwhelm them. (Remember Jesus has just told them, on the Sermon on the Mount, "not to worry"!). Jesus immediately gets up and 'rebukes the wind and the sea'. Nature obeys the voice of its Creator!
give us the faith to turn to You
and trust You when life gets hard,
knowing that You can protect us.
and that whatever happens
you have our best concern at heart.
You might like to find out more about why the Sea of Galilee has such storms: