Matthew 8:23-27 NRSVue
23And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24A windstorm suddenly arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves, but he was asleep. 25And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” 26And 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. 27They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”
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Some thoughts on this scripture
In a storm, whether of the sea or of my own emotions, the urgent often pushes out the important; overwhelmed by feelings of panic, I can say and do things that destroy relationships or make my plight worse. It need not be like that. Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, suffered worse crises than any I have suffered; I marvel at the calm with which they could respond. Jesus’ greeting is one of peace. Teach me that, Lord.
The disciples found out bit by bit ‘what kind of man this is'. In different situations they would get to know Jesus; by hearing him and watching him with people, they would understand and appreciate and love him more. Reflection, prayer, conversation and reading can all enhance and increase our knowledge of him. Mostly our knowledge will grow with our love of him, as both grow together. Our prayer leads us from love to knowledge, the knowledge of the heart that is at the heart of prayer.
This scene is often pictured and is a favourite for times of stress and of darkness - in the storms of life. We may feel Jesus is asleep, not near us. He woke at the moment he was really needed, and calmed the waters. In prayer he calms us too, maybe not immediately but when we really need him he is there, a hand outstretched to save us from anxiety, darkness and despair. The Lord of wind and sea, the one in whom all was created is the one who creates calm and confidence in everything of life.