The Sea of Galilee is a lot like life—storms pop up out of the blue. Smooth sailing one hour, chaotic the next. The gospels reflect this reality. The disciples thought Jesus had abandoned them in their greatest hour of need. “Don’t you see this boat filling up with water.“
I’ve spent time in my own life asking that same question. Don’t you see my eyes welling up with tears Lord? Don’t you care that this is too overwhelming for me?
Here’s the irony. The disciples thought Jesus abandoned them in their greatest hour of need. He was asleep. They felt they had to bear their cups alone. Eventually, these same disciples would fall asleep on him in his greatest hour of need in Gethsemane.
Couldn’t Jesus have asked the same question? Didn’t they care he was perishing? Jesus would go on to suffer and die alone. They left him. As Christians, we can’t navigate this life without understanding this truth.
Jesus bore the brunt of the cross alone, so we won’t have to bear our crosses alone.
We tend to spend more time asking Jesus that question. Don’t you care? When we need to spend more time answering this question. Don’t you care that he conquered all your greatest fears on the cross?
What does Jesus do for the disciples? He says three words. ”Peace be still.” The word there literally means “be quiet”. Immediately, the storms ceased. And there was a great calm. During storms, the winds and waves might be beating on us, but…
The winds and waves still know his name.
They still hear his voice. He’s the same God of whom Paul says in Colossians that all things hold together in him.
The disciples were astonished. ”Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey him?“
In the Old Testament, only one person had that power. God. He formed the seas in creation in Genesis. He split the Red Sea in Exodus. This Jesus was doing God-sized things. As the disciples thought back to the OT, their minds had to immediately go to the story of Jonah.
Jonah was a prophet who found himself running from God. He hopped on a boat to try to avoid doing what God called him to do. We know that didn’t turn out too well. The Lord sent out a great wind. The ship was falling apart. The men came to Jonah and found him asleep. Get up Jonah, don’t you are that we are perishing? What do you want us to do?
Jonah says something interesting. Throw me into the sea. They picked him up and threw him into the sea. The wind ceased. And the men were afraid.
Look at the parallels there. Both scenes are on a boat. Both boats are going to be broken into pieces. Jesus and Jonah are both asleep. Both hear the words “don’t you care”. Both groups of sailors are afraid after the miracle. But there’s one difference.
Jonah was cast into the sea.
Jesus spoke to the sea.
Why the slight difference? Because Jesus’ parallel story doesn’t end there. Later in the gospels, he’s going to be cast into another sea—an unimaginable one. The sea of pain, despair, and death. The sea of God’s abandonment. As Tim Keller puts it,
Jonah was thrown overboard for his own sin.
Jesus was thrown into the ultimate storm for our sins.
That’s the good news of the gospel. My storms pale in comparison to Jesus’ own spiritual storm. He was crucified and experienced excruciating pain. And he did it all for me. That’s what makes all the questions I ask in my storms easier to process. Every time, God answers my storm-laden questions by pointing to the cross. What about you?