Matthew 8:23-27 (New International Version)
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus replied, “You of little faith, why are you afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
If you’ve ever been on board a boat during a storm, you know that it can be a very frightening experience. Waves come crashing over the sides, the boat lurches from side to side, front to back. The boards creak and groan, the rain slaps you in the face, and the wind screams in your ears.
(Any of you want to get off the boat yet?)
So, it’s not surprising that the disciples are terrified. They must have looked at the slumbering Jesus and thought, “Wow! This guy is a seriously deep sleeper!” They must have expected that Jesus would share in their panic when they woke him up. But he doesn’t. He simply gets up and tells the winds and waves to knock it off. (Slight paraphrase there.)
The Greek for “rebuke” in our passage is epitimao: “to warn, to strongly admonish.” Now, you or I could rebuke a storm all we want, but it’s not going to do any good. But when Jesus speaks sternly to the winds, they immediately ceased their howling. The disciples, seeing all this, wonder just who Jesus is. Even nature bows down and does his bidding.
Are you more likely to reach out to God in times of distress, or in times of peace?