But Jesus was in the rear of the boat, sleeping on a pillow. They woke him up and said, "Teacher, don't you care that we're drowning?"
This verse is in the middle of the story where Jesus calms the storm. But why is Jesus napping? Shouldn't Jesus be more concerned with what is going on? It's helpful to look at the context of what is going on here. Jesus has spent the day explaining that parables are about God's kingdom. Among the parables he has shared are the parable about the lamp (about everything that is hidden must be revealed), the parable of the sower (scattering seeds so that some will take root), and the parable of the mustard seed (the smallest seed becomes the biggest plant). So to this point Jesus has had a long day. And now, him and the disciples are going to get into a boat and head to the other side of the lake where Jesus will speak to the Gentiles. So I think it is safe to say that Jesus has earned a nap not only for what he has done but also for what he will do later in the day.
So we get to the point where Jesus is in the boat napping while a storm rages. And you have the disciples wake him up asking if he "cares that we're drowning?" So Jesus gets up and says:
"Silence! Be Still!" The wind settled down and there was great calm. Jesus asked them, "Why are you frightened? Don't you have faith yet?"
Hmmm. The disciples are anxious and are worried about "drowning" and Jesus simply calms the storm. Then he asks about their faith. Perhaps this drowning is not only about drowning in the boat but also about the disciples drowning spiritually. They are "drowning" because they don't have the necessary faith...yet. Often we have storms in our lives, in our communities, in our nation, and in our world. As humans I believe there is a tendency to become anxious much like the disciples. But we must have faith. A faith that allow us to be calm in the midst of life's storms. Something that is sometimes quite difficult today with everything going on around us. Just this last weekend we had another mass shooting, this time in a small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. And then two days later TCU was on lockdown due to an armed person on campus. Both of these events gave me anxiety because I serve two small churches in Texas and I attend TCU. But even in times like these, faithful discipleship requires us to be like Jesus. Jesus calming the storm reminds me that we should strive to be calm in stressful and anxious situations. The fears and anxieties we have need not consume us. They need not paralyze us. There are things to be fearful and anxious about. We can very easily exist in a state of constant anxiety or we can have faith and be aware that Jesus is with us in that boat. We can remember that Jesus is able to calm the storm and if we put our faith in Jesus we can have peace in anxious situations because Jesus gives us that peace. So we can be like Jesus by being calm.
When anxiety and fear come your way how will you respond? Will you respond with anxiety like the disciples? Or will you respond with the calm of Jesus?
Grace & Peace