Jesus told the disciples, “Depart to the other side of the sea” (Matthew 8:18). Jesus told them they would go to the other side. It was His command. And the disciples followed Him: “When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him” (verse 23). So far, so good. If Jesus was with them, there’s no danger.
Yet, a storm came up and they were terrified. Verse 24 declares, “And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep.”
When you think of these experienced fishermen being afraid, this must have been one whopper of a storm. Or else: because of their experience, they knew the danger. Most likely, other fishermen had perished in such a storm. Their experiences of seeing harm in the past fueled their fear. Would they have the same fate?
But I don’t want to be too hard on the disciples. I identify with them if they were thinking, “Doesn’t He care? Doesn’t He know? Doesn’t He….?” What question would you put there? When have you and I concentrated more on the fearful and hurtful thing that happened to us and we thought,
- “Doesn’t Jesus care that someone gossiped about me? Now I must protect my reputation.”
- “Doesn’t Jesus know that company cheated me of my refund? Now I must be suspicious and fearful of every company.”
- “Doesn’t Jesus promise to take care of all my needs yet I don’t have enough money? Now I must stop paying my tithe.”
How easily we and the disciples forget that Jesus commanded, “We will go to the other side of the sea.” Our distrust and fear from our circumstances have negated our Lord’s promise.
Maybe their fear seemed reasonable because Jesus is asleep. Maybe they think His power ineffective when He’s not aware or when He‘s asleep…like Samson who didn’t realize his power was gone because Delilah had cut his hair while he slept. Maybe Jesus also could not help them while He was sleeping.
They have forgotten that Jesus promised, “We will go to the other side of the sea.” And His promise isn’t negated by sleep.
Therefore, they conclude, “We are perishing” (verse 25). Do you see the finality of their statement? “All is lost. There is no hope. It’s a done deal!”
And we conclude,
- “I deserve to be gossiped about.”
- “There is no justice.”
- “There won’t be enough money.”
Jesus says they are going to go to the other side of the lake; He doesn’t say how or what will happen in the traveling there. Isn’t that just like us? Jesus says we will arrive at heaven, but He doesn’t give all the details.
They have forgotten that Jesus promised, “We will go to the other side of the sea.” And His promise isn’t negated by circumstances.
Jesus wakes up to their demanding, terrifying pleas.
“Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Matthew 8:25-27).
He calmly rebuked the winds and sea and then the sea became perfectly calm: a reflection of the peace with which Jesus took care of the challenge.
Just think. How could the disciples‘s‘ perspective been different if they had trusted in Jesus’s promise that they would arrive on the other side? Instead, they concluded they were on their own and everything was lost.
I’m actually encouraged that even though they had little faith, Jesus still saved them. He didn‘t get up from His nap, cross His arms, and say, “Well, I know how to swim so I’m just gonna let you all drown. Because I’m really getting tired that you can’t believe what I say will happen because I said so! So there!”
They have forgotten that Jesus promised, “We will go to the other side of the sea.” And His promise isn’t negated by little faith.
After He calms the sea, verse 28 says, “When He came to the other side…” Just as He said, they came to the other side. What He promised, happened.
It happened because it’s all about Jesus and His glory. Jesus said it. It will happen.
Is there some situation you are facing for which there is a Scriptural promise and yet your perspective is the opposite? What do you want to do about that? Could you forget to forget that Jesus promised, “We will go to the other side of the sea”? Because His promise isn’t negated by your forgetfulness.