Matthew 8:23
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.







And when He was entered into a ship.
I. THE STORM AROSE WHILE THE DISCIPLES WERE FOLLOWING OUR LORD.

II. WHILE HIS DISCIPLES WERE PERPLEXED AND ALARMED HE WAS ASLEEP.

1. Sleep of refreshment.

2. Wonderful.

3. Designed.

III. THEY CAME TO HIM AND AWOKE HIM, SAYING, "LORD, SAVE US."

IV. OUR LORD REPROVES HIS DISCIPLES.

V. WHAT EFFECT HAD ALL THIS UPON HIS DISCIPLES

1. Admiration.

2. Praise.

3. Familiarize your minds with Christ as present with you in all difficulties.

(W. Jay.)

I. THE DANGER. May not the body of man be compared to a ship; and the soul which he carries within that body be likened to a treasure. The world as a current; trials like storms. The disciples may aptly represent the Church, and the hazard they were in, the extremity to which the Church is often reduced. One of the chief reasons why our Lord permitted His disciples to be thus tried was —

1. To teach them humility.

2. To exercise faith and patience.

II. THE BEHAVIOUR OF THE DISCIPLES UNDER THE DANGER.

1. Distrust of God.

2. Distrust of His goodness and ability. Just before they had seen Him cure the palsy, etc.

3. Reproof.

4. In one respect worthy of imitation, they had resource to Christ.

III. THE GRACIOUS DELIVERANCE EFFECTED BY OUR BLESSED LORD.

1. The Divinity of our Lord.

2. How compassionate our Lord was to His timid disciples.

3. The man whose hope is in the Lord his God has no cause for alarm. —

(J. Seger, M. A.)

I. The way of obedience leads through many a scene of boisterous trouble. If. Through whatever storms the way of Christian obedience may lie, they are for some good purpose.

III. Whatever storms may overtake Christian voyagers, there is this consoling fact: Christ is with them in the ship.

IV. Jesus not only comforts by His presence, He also gloriously delivers by His power. Christ's help may be deferred, but will be timely and complete.

V. A. prophecy of the blessedness which Christ's finished work is to bring to the world, and to those who embark with Him in the voyage of life — Peace.

(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)

I. THE STORM. We are closely connected with the material world, waves may dash against our spirits as well as our bodies.

1. The storm in the elements of nature.

2. The storm in the bosom of the Church.

II. THE CALM.

1. In the elements of nature?

2. The calm in the kingdom of grace.Application: —

1. Have you embarked with Christ?

2. Flee to Jesus now, and cry, "Lord, save: we perish."

3. If we are embarked with Christ, learn His claims to confidence.

4. This miracle speaks to ministers. They must learn by experience the value of the Saviour they recommend.

(J. Bennett, D. D.)

I. THE PASSAGE ACROSS THE LAKE.

1. Christ commands His disciples to pass over to the other side of the sea. He left the attractive for the repulsive.

2. The voyage is undertaken suddenly — "even as He was." Disciples should hold themselves ready to go at a moment's notice on their Master's service.

3. He takes the apostles with Him: the school of the prophets, in which He is training the ministers of the Word. Daily lessons in providence.

4. Besides Christ's immediate company in their own ship, a number of other disciples accompanied Him in " other little ships."

II. JESUS ASLEEP IN THE STORM.

1. An apt figure of the homeless state of Jesus on earth.

2. The holy rest of the weary workman after earnest labour. He redeems this time for rest.

3. A quiet sleep in the midst of danger.

4. The sleep of innocence — a contrast to the sleep of Jonah in guilt.

III. JESUS STILLING THE TEMPEST.

1. The calm is in answer to the earnest cry of the disciples. We should pray in time of need. The cry of the disciples brought deliverance to many around; we never pray for ourselves without benefitting others.

2. Jesus stills the tempest by His word. An image of many a believer's life.

(A. M. Stuart.)

In the former miracles love and mercy are prominent; in this, power. —

(H. Alford, D. D.)

Expository Outlines.
I. AN APPALLING SCENE TO CONTEMPLATE.

1. Of imposing grandeur.

2. Of no ordinary peril and distress.

3. Highly instructive in its symbolical signification. "The wicked are like the troubled sea."

II. THE CONSTERNATION WHICH WAS FELT.

1. To whom they applied.

2. The language in which they addressed Him. The last of these cries given by St. Matthew.

(1)It is short;

(2)It is appropriate;

(3)It is fervent.

III. THE WONDERFUL POWER AND AUTHORITY THAT WERE MANIFESTED. This act.

1. By what it was preceded. He rebuked the disciples before rebuking the winds.

2. The manner in which it was done.

3. The result that followed.

IV. THE AMAZEMENT WHICH WAS PRODUCED.

1. In their wonder there was considerable awe and terror.

2. Notwithstanding their excited emotions, they expressed themselves in language eminently befitting so memorable an occasion; not like St. Peter on Mount of Transfiguration.

(Expository Outlines.)

A simple but characteristic incident is recorded in connection with the early history of Lord Nelson. On one occasion his mother was telling him that he should fear a certain thing, and not go near to it; he at once turned round to her, and asked, "Mother, what is fear? " It was a question which shows how true it is that the boy is father to the man; for if ever there was a character of dauntless intrepidity it was he. Now it is evident that there was no need for the disciples to have asked such a question; what fear was they well knew, and it was for giving way to it that they were now gently rebuked by our Lord. To us also He addresses the same words, for He would have each of us to say with the Church of old, "I will trust, and not be afraid; " and, among many other instances, the present case is intended, and peculiarly adapted, to strengthen the one feeling, and to remove the other.

Clerical Furlough in the Holy Land.
Dr. Buchanan experienced one of these sudden storms on the Sea of Galilee. "While gazing on the suggestive scenery around us, our earnest conversation was suddenly disturbed by a movement among our Arab crew. All at once they pulled in their oars, stepped their mast, and began to hoist their long and very ragged lateen sail. What can the fellows mean to do with a sail in a dead calm?" But they were right. There comes the breeze, rippling and roughening the lately glassy surface of the lake. It reaches us before the sail is rightly set. A few minutes more, and it is blowing hard. The bending and often-spliced yard threatens. to give way, and the tattered leach of the sail seems as if it would rend right up, and go away in shreds. To go upon a wind with such a craft is impossible. There is nothing for it but to slack away, and run before it "And where are we going now?' was our first inquiry, when things had been got a little into shape. 'Where the wind will take us,' was the reply of the old greybeard at the helm. And away we went, the lake now all tossed into waves, and covered with foaming white heads, as if a demon had got into its lately tranquil bosom — an adventure that afforded us a fresh illustration of the reality of those events which the narratives of Scripture relate."

(Clerical Furlough in the Holy Land.)

Some years ago, an officer in the army, who was a pious man, was drafted abroad with his regiment. He accordingly embarked, with his wife and children. They had not. been many days at sea when a violent storm arose, which threatened the destruction of the ship, and the loss of all their lives. Consternation and terror prevailed among the crew and passengers; his wife also was greatly alarmed. In the midst of all, he was perfectly calm and composed: his wife, observing this, began to upbraid him with want of affection to her and her children, urging, that if he was not concerned for his own safety, he ought to be for theirs. He made no reply, but immediately left the cabin,to which he returned in a short time with his drawn sword in his hand, and with a stern countenance pointed it to her breast; but she, smiling, did not appear at all disconcerted or afraid. "What!" said he, "are you not afraid when a drawn sword is at your breast? No," answered she, "not when I know that it is in the hand of one who loves me." "And would you have me," replied he, "to be afraid of this storm and tempest, when I know it is in the hand of my heavenly Father, who loves me?"

One of the greatest of the old Romans was once overtaken by a storm at sea, and when the captain of the ship was full of terror, the conqueror said, "Why do you fear for the ship? Do you not know that it carries Caesar? " Let us, as Christians, remember that the ship in which we must cross the waves of this troublesome world, is the ship of the Church, and that it carries Jesus.

A certain noble family of England, which gained its position by the victories of an ancestor at sea, has for its motto the single word — Tilers. That word is a nautical term of command, which means that the steerman is to keep the ship's head straight on the course which she is sailing. This is the true motto for a Christian. Let him keep his course straightforward, through the storm and tempest, through dangers and difficulties, steering the course of DUTY, with Jesus as his companion and his guide.

(Wilmot Buxton.)

I. MAN IN HIS HELPLESS CONDITION AS A PERISHING CREATURE.

II. SALVATION ALONE IS OF THE LORD.

1. It is of the Lord in its origin.

2. In its execution.

3. In its bestowment.

III. PERSONAL APPLICATION TO CHRIST IS NECESSARY.

1. This implies knowledge of Christ.

2. Faith in His Holy Name.

3. Importunity of desire.

IV. Such application to Christ shall never fail.

1. Because it is His own appointment.

2. It is His delight to save His people.

3. He never allows His believing people to perish.

(T. R. Baker.)

1. That we must not be fearful in the time of danger.

2. Not to be fearful in the storm of everyday life.

(Wilmot Buxton, M. A.)

I. What absolute helplessness is.

II. When, at last, the voyager comes sincerely and anxiously to that, and utters the prayer, Christ does not refuse him because he did not call sooner, or because when he prayed his prayer was not the purest and loftiest of prayers.

III. The person of Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, is the actual bond of a living unity between the visible world of nature and the invisible world of God's spiritual kingdom.

IV. The miracle thus discloses to us the true practical use both of the gospel miracles themselves, and of every other gift and blessing of heaven, in leading us up in affectionate gratitude to Him who stands as the central figure among all those visible wonders, and the originator of all the peace-making powers which tranquilize and reconcile the turbulences of the world.

(Bishop Huntingdon.)

I. THE SUPREMACY OF CHRIST OVER ALL TURBULENT AND SEEMINGLY UNCONTROLLABLE FORCES.

1. The act represents Christ's supremacy over the physical world.

2. This act is symbolical of Christ's supremacy over the mental and moral disorders which agitate the world.

II. THE BEARING OF CHRIST'S SUPREMACY ON CERTAIN ASPECTS OF TRUTH AND CONDUCT.

1. In relation to His promises to each of His disciples. He will fulfil His word both because He wishes and can.

2. In relation to the establishment of His kingdom on earth.

3. In relation to the day of resurrection and judgment.Christ's supremacy over nature affects diversely different classes of character.

1. It is an occasion of fear and dread to those who are alien in heart and life to Him.

2. Of consolation to those who are loyal to Him.

(C. Chapman, M. A.)

1. Undertake no enterprize in which Christ does not accompany you.

2. Distinguish between storms which you have provoked, and the storms which God has appointed.

3. Be assured that all forces are under the control of Divine beneficence.

(Dr. J. Parker.)

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