And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.…
The only way to escape from the throning multitude was to cross the lake to the comparatively deserted eastern shore (ver. 18). Yet even on the sea quiet could not be had, for one of the sudden tempests that sweep down from the hills upon land-locked lakes with scarcely a moment's warning fell upon the little fishing-smack, when it was in the middle of its voyage, with such violence that even the experienced fishermen who manned the craft were in terror for their lives; yet Christ was asleep!
I. CHRIST IS ASLEEP IN THE STORM. This is a striking picture. Consider what it reveals in him.
1. Natural weariness. He had had a long day of toil. Even when he sought rest in the house it was forbidden him. Now at last he is free from the multitude, and Nature asserts her sway, and he falls into the heavy sleep of utter exhaustion. See here
(1) Christ's true humanity;
(2) how he can sympathize with our weakness;
(3) how his work was not easy, but toilsome and wearisome, yet freely given for the good of men.
2. Inward peace. He need not lie awake tortured by' anxiety. He has no evil conscience to disturb him. Within one breast all is calm while the tempest howls round the boat.
3. Perfect faith. His time has not yet come. But if it had come he would not need to be disturbed; for he is always ready for his Father's will. He knows that all is safe with God.
II. CHRIST IS AROUSED BY HIS DISCIPLES. Their action is natural. They were in imminent danger - or at least they thought themselves so. Their conduct reveals their state of mind. This was a strange mixture of faith and unbelief.
1. Faith. Christ is a laudsman - a carpenter of the inland town of Nazareth; these men are natives of the seashore, and fishermen well used to the sea. Yet they instinctively cry to Christ. In all his trouble the Christian cannot but turn to his Master.
2. Unbelief. These panic-stricken men cannot wait for their Master to rise at the right moment and save them. In their terror they are impatient of his calm slumbers - which is natural; but they are also querulous and unkind - which is less excusable. They hint that Christ cares not whether they perish. Great trouble is a severe test of faith, especially when we have to wait long for deliverance.
III. CHRIST STILLS THE STORM. First he rebukes the little faith of the disciples. Then he turns to the terror of wind and wave; and in a moment the storm has dropped as suddenly as it arose. Here is the real rebuke of unbelief. Christ is never negligent of his people in their troubles. He may seem to delay; but at the right moment he will do all that is needful. Whatever may be the trouble, he is able to conquer it. Yet it is easier to quiet a storm at sea than to quiet a troubled heart. If you hold a glass of water in your hand you can secure its being quite at rest while you hold your hand still. But if you have caught a wild bird in the hedge and hold it in your hand and feel its little heart throbbing against your fingers, you cannot quiet it merely by holding your hand still. You must teach it to trust you. When it has gained confidence it will be at rest. The sea may be stilled by a word of command, but the heart of man only through faith. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.