Week 59 | Section 65

Jesus Calmed the SeaAs a long day of teaching and the deliverance of one demoniac drew to a close Jesus decided it was time to cross the Sea of Galilee1. Jesus entered the boat with his disciples, they hoisted the sails for the five mile trip. A flotilla of those who wanted to hear more followed along in other boats and Jesus slept while his trusted disciples navigated the waters.


Scripture

Matthew 8:18, 23-27
18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes around him, he gave the order to depart to the other side.2 23 When he got into a boat, his disciples followed him. 24 Behold, a violent storm3 came up on the sea, so much that the boat was covered with the waves, but he was asleep.

25 They came to him, and woke him up, saying, “Save us, Lord! We are dying!”

26 He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the wind and the sea, and there was a great calm.

27 The men marveled, saying, “What kind of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”4

Mark 4:35-41
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let’s go over to the other side.”5 36 Leaving the multitude, they took him with them, even as he was,6 in the boat. Other small boats were also with him. 37 A big wind storm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so much that the boat was already filled. 38 He himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion, and they woke him up, and told him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are dying?”7 39 He awoke, and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 They were greatly afraid, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”8
Luke 8:22-25
22 Now on one of those days, he entered into a boat, himself and his disciples,9 and he said to them, “Let’s go over to the other side10 of the lake.” So they launched out. 23 But as they sailed, he fell asleep. A wind storm came down on the lake, and they were taking on dangerous amounts of water.11

24 They came to him, and awoke him, saying, “Master, master, we are dying!” He awoke, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water, and they ceased, and it was calm.

25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” Being afraid they marveled, saying to one another, “Who is this then, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”


Group Dialog:

  1. Fear is a normal and acceptable emotion, but what is a faith-filled response to fear?
  2. what situation have you been in which struck fear in you – and what did you think of or do that transformed it into a moment faith.
  3. What is faith?   How has Jesus become the author and perfecter of your faith?
  4. What do you know about the nature of God which has given (could give) you faith to overcome and press on in fearful situations?
  5. What stories of faith have you learned from others in your life which later gave you faith in a moment of concern?
  6. What habits and spiritual disciplines have helped you carry on in faith?

Learning Objectives: the nature of fear, the power of faith, the authority of God, confidence and determination to carry out the mission, lesson in life, godly character


Photo: Waves at sunset, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA overlooking Arrowhead Point, Still Water Cove, and the 8th hole at Pebble Beach, CA.


Study Notes:

  1. Sea of Galilee (686 feet below sea level), is also called Lake Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, Lake Tiberias, and the “Sea of Chinnereth” around 1500BC (Num. 34:11; Josh. 12:3; 13:27) for its harp shape. The Jordan River fills its depths and makes it the largest freshwater lake in Israel with a surface area of 64 square miles, about 12 1/2 miles long, and between 4 to 7 1/2 broad with a depth of 80-200 feet.
  2. We must remember that Matthew wrote to a Jewish audience and his Gospel account is follows a polemic literary style with five themes (The Kingdom of Heaven, the Church, End Times, missions, and discipleship). Understanding this Thomas and Gundry placed the omitted verses (Matthew 8:19-22) in Section 93 to parallel Luke’s account of the same event (Luke 9:57-62). Were these two separate events with near identical words – its doubtful.
  3. Matthew uses the word seismos, also used for earthquake to describe the torrent of this storm. In March of 1992 a storm created waves that were 10 feet high from an easterly wind off the Golan Heights.
  4. One can imagine Matthews and his readers recalling Psalm 107:29 while focusing on the power and authority of God/Jesus.
  5. Tradition holds that Jesus was in Capernaum and sailed for Kursi (photos) located on the eastern shore of the lake.
  6. probably referring to his sleepiness and also his clothing
  7. About fear and faith: Read 1Peter 5:7; 2Corinthians 12:9
  8. By one count 18 of the 33 recorded miracles of Christ were in communities around the Sea of Galilee, counting 10 in Capernaum alone.
  9. It was from its very shores that Jesus called Peter and his brother Andrew, and James and John, to be follow him, and invite them to become “fishers of men” (Matt. 4:18,22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11). Levi, whom Jesus called Matthew, was collecting taxes beside the sea when Jesus called him to be an apostle (Mark 2:13-14).
  10. In the 1st century AD Josephus, the famous Jewish historian,  reported that there were nine cities scattered around its shores including: Gadara, Bethsadia, Chorazin, Capernaum, Magdala and Tiberias and evidence that suggests each of the cities were home to about 15,000 people (about 3000 homes in each). This map denotes several events, cities, and harbors around the lake (relief maps).  In the 1 century AD it is believed that there were about forty different kinds of fish in the Sea of Galilee including the most popular Musht (similar to tilapia) and a small (2 inch) sardine-like fish. Josephus reported that as many as 230 fishing boats were often seen on the lake.
  11. The lake is subject to sudden storms as the cool air sweeps down from the mountains to the surface of the sea. To the west and the southwest, the hills of Lower Galilee form lake’s edge, but in the mid-eastern sections and onward to the south the cliffs of the Plateau of Golan butt up against the lake on both sides. It is a fertile area yet in summer the weather around the lake is hot, and the moisture in the spring air makes it a balmy tropical climate