TEXT: Matthew 8:23-27
23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
By way of introduction, allow me to share with you what John MacArthur wrote about this passage: “The small group of disciples who followed Jesus were the true and open believers, those who were publicly and permanently committed to Him. The boat they entered into was probably a small, open fishing craft of the type commonly used by fishermen such as Peter, James, and John. The Sea of Galilee lies just over 600 feet below sea level, near the northern end of the Jordan River. Mt. Hermon rises 9,200 feet to the north, and strong northerly winds often plummet down the upper Jordan valley with great force. When they meet the wanner air over the Galilee basin, the intensity is increased. Hitting the cliffs on the eastern shore, the winds swirl and twist, causing the waters beneath them to churn violently. The fact that they come quickly and with little warning makes the storms all the more dangerous and frightening.”
As we noted in our message on yesterday, when the twelves disciples of Christ entered into the ship with Jesus, they had no idea where they were headed next. They did not know where they would next lay their heads or when they would next see their families again. However, unlike others, these disciples did not let that keep them back from following Jesus. It turns out that what was in store for them was a great storm.
Matthew reports, “Behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves.” Violent storms were frequent on the Sea of Galilee. Knowing all things, Jesus would have known the storm was coming. Yet, He permitted the disciples to sail into it. It is important to note that this storm came, not because they had been disobedient, but in spite of their obedience to following Jesus. This reminds us that, sometimes, God allows us to go through storms in order to test us or teach us important lessons as He does with the disciples here.
Notice the difference between the reactions of Jesus and the disciples as this “great tempest” tossed their ship on the sea. The Bible says Jesus “was asleep.” Jesus was not worried or concerned. He had come into the ship to get away from the crowds so He could rest, and that is what He did. His peace was not dependent on outward circumstances; His peace came from within. Storm or no storm, Jesus was at rest. He knew that the storm was under God’s control — yea, even His control. He had nothing to be worried about. So, He slept.
Compare that with many of our fellow men and women today who cannot sleep even in a warm bed in their own, quiet house. Why? Because there is a storm, a “great tempest,” in their minds and hearts. Some people lay awake worried about tomorrow, about bills that need to be paid, about tensions on the job, about consequences of sin, about family problems. They have no inner peace, and so when the storms of life cloud their minds, they cannot sleep — or they turn to drugs to numb them into a few hours of shut-eye.
The disciples did not have the inner peace or trust in God that Jesus had. So, when they saw the great tempest thrashing about them, with waves tossed higher than their ship, they were very afraid. They had followed Jesus into the ship when they very well could have stayed safe and dry in Peter’s house in Capernaum. They feared for their safety, if not for their lives, and they wondered how Jesus could sleep at a time like this. They hurried to wake Him, “saying, Lord, save us: we perish!”
What is your response to the storms of life? Are you at peace in the midst of a tempest, or does your mind automatically turn to the worst possible scenario? One of the lessons we ought to learn from this account is that following Jesus does not make us immune from storms. However, it should give us the confidence to know that God is in control, and that, if we are in His will, everything will work our all right.
William Cowper wrote:
The billows swell, the winds are high,
Clouds overcast the wintry sky;
Out of the depths to Thee I call,
My fears are great, my strength is small.
O Lord, the pilot’s part perform,
And guide and guard me through the storm;
Defend me from each threatening ill,
Control the save, say, Peace, be still.
Amidst the roaring of the sea,
My soul still hangs her hope on Thee;
Thy constant love, Thy faithful care,
Is all that saves me from despair.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.