A Great Tempest in the Sea, Matt 8:24



When you find yourself sailing thorough a tempest:

Remember how you got there – Matt 8:23.  They followed Jesus into the ship.  The disciples didn’t bring this storm on themselves. They got into this tempest by simply following Jesus.  When you are following Jesus, at some point, you’re going sail into a great tempest in the sea.  This was a terrible storm.  Their “ship was covered with the waves,” Matt 8:24.  And sometimes, you’re going to sail through a terrible storm.

In Matt 14:22, after feeding the five thousand, “Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side.”  Matt 14:24 says, “But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.”  Jesus is the reason that they were in that storm.  And that’s not all.  In Mk 6:48, “he saw them toiling in rowing.”  Yet, he, whom the winds and the sea obey, Matt 8:27, did nothing about it.  He just let them sail in that storm and keep on rowing.  

Paul was a faithful servant of Jesus Christ.  In his testimony, he wrote, “In journeyings often, in perils of waters,” 2 Cor 11:26.  He was doing the Lord’s will.  And yet his journeys on water were often perilous.  He wrote, “thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep,” 2 Cor 11:25.

If you’re going to follow Jesus, you are going to go through some tempests.  Randy and I on ship last week.  A quote from Aristotle Onassis.  “We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest.  We must learn to sail in high seas.”

Look for Jesus – Matt 8:25.  “His disciples came to him, and awoke him.”  We have commented at length on their fear and their little faith.  I find that even to this day I am just like them.  My continual prayer is, “Lord decrease my fear and increase my faith.”  

Regardless of their little faith, the reality is that they went to the right place looking for help.  They went to Jesus.  And when you are in a tempest you must get to Jesus.  In the storm in Matt 14, when Peter walked on the water and he began to sink, “he cried, saying, Lord, save me,” Matt 14:30.  He went to the right person for help.

Even Paul, whose faith was very great, had to get to Jesus when he went through the tempestuous wind called Euroclydon, Acts 27:14.  Luke wrote, “when… no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away,” Acts 27:20.  They despaired of life just like the disciples did when they said, “we perish,” Matt 8:25.  Yet Paul was able to say, “there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,” Acts 27:23.  Jesus showed up.  Get to Jesus in the storm.

Don’t turn against the Lord or your shipmates – Matt 14:22, 31.  It’s at this point that you have to be very careful to avoid going somewhere else with your fear and frustration in a storm.  

  • In Matt 14, the disciples could have gotten very fussy with the Lord because Jesus had constrained them to get into the ship.  Don’t turn against the Lord in a storm.  
  • Also, in Matt 14, the other disciples in the storm could have turned their attention against Peter since he was the who fell in.  Don’t ridicule or look down on others who are going through a storm with you, just because they’re not handling it as well as you think you are.  After all, Peter wasn’t jumping ship; he was trying to get to Jesus.  The only person I’m mad it is me; I could do better in this storm.
  • Luke could have gotten very fussy with Paul in Acts 27.  
  • Paul could have gotten very fussy with the owner of the ship and the captain.  Don’t turn on your ship mates.  

Some people are responsible for their own storms.  Jonah got into his own storm, Jon 1:4, “the Lord sent a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.”  Yet, did you notice that the mariners did everything in their power to try to get him safely to land, Jon 1:13-14.  If those guys could work together to try to help a disobedient servant of the Lord, we need to be careful to avoid the temptation to throw a shipmate overboard.  The Navy Seals learn to work together on their boat crews.

Follow Jesus out of the storm – Matt 8:26.  “Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”  In this case, the Lord simply stopped the storm.  Luke wrote that they were filled with water and they were in jeopardy, Lk 8:23.  The disciples could have spent the entire time bailing water.  We often work ourselves into total exhaustion trying to fight the elements in a storm.  Before you get carried away, be sure to get to the Lord and follow him.  The water still had to be bailed, but at least they weren’t taking on more water.  They had been fighting a losing battle until Jesus stepped in.

As long as Jesus is on board, you’re going to get through the storm.  In Matt 8, Jesus merely stopped the storm and calmed the raging of the waves.  They still had to sail.  In the storm where Peter stepped out of the boat, John wrote that when Jesus came on board, “immediately the ship was at the land whither they went,” Jn 6:21.  That was a miracle.  In Paul’s shipwreck in Acts 27, everyone was saved but the ship was smashed by the waves.  Those who couldn’t swim used the pieces of the ship to get to shore.  You don’t really know how Jesus is going to get you through the storm.  But you do know that he will, even if you have to take a ride in a whale like Jonah.

Conclusion: When you come through a storm, you’re going to be different.  You may marvel like the disciples in their first storm with Jesus.  Or you may worship God like the disciples did in Matt 14.  Or, after surviving several storms, you may go through the next one like Paul with great faith, believing God, Acts 27:25  Even before the end of this storm, Paul encouraged everyone to be of good cheer. Or like Jonah, you can get right with God and go do what he called you to do. Or, you can choose to stay on land.