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A Practical Commentary On Holy Scripture by Frederick Justus Knecht D.D.

[Mat. 8:23–27. Mark 4:35–40. Luke 8:22–25]

ONE evening Jesus entered into a boat (Fig. 76), and His disciples followed Him. A great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves, and they were in great danger. But Jesus was asleep. His disciples came to Him, crying out with fear: “Lord, save us, we perish.” Jesus arose and said to them: “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” Then standing, He rebuked the winds and commanded the sea, and there came a great calm.

 

Fig. 76. Boat on Lake of Genesareth. (Phot. Bruno Hentschel, Leipzig.)

But the men wondered, saying: “What manner of man is this, for the winds and the sea obey Him?”

The Divinity of our Lord. “Who is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” exclaimed the witnesses of this wonder. This great miracle was, indeed, a fresh and clear proof of our Lord’s divine power. But in order to appreciate the greatness of the miracle you must take into account following circumstances. After a violent storm it is usually many hours before the movement of the waves subsides, and the surface of the sea regains its smoothness. But in this case the calm followed immediately on our Lord’s words. Man never feels himself so small, so powerless, so pitiable as when he is in conflict with the uncontrolled powers of nature. Then those who think themselves strongest recognize their weakness and cry out to God for help. But Jesus arises and commands the raging elements, and they obey Him. “O Lord of hosts”, cries the Psalmist, “who is like to Thee! Thou rulest the power of the sea, and appeasest the motion of the waves thereof” (Ps. 88:9).

The Two Natures in Jesus Christ. As Man He was tired and slept; as God He commanded the winds and the waves.

The weak faith of the disciples was shown by their thinking that our Lord, when asleep, was powerless to help them. They forgot that His Godhead cannot sleep, but is ever awake and watchful over His servants.

The object of this miracle was 1. to increase and strengthen the faith of the apostles; 2. to teach the apostles and their successors that they, as fishers of men, would be exposed to many persecutions and afflictions; but that Jesus would always be with them to hush the storm.

The Church Militant, with the successor of St. Peter at the helm, is typified by Peter’s little ship threatened with destruction by the storm. The Church has to contend with many adversaries; but our Lord is in her midst, and if at times He seems to slumber, He still knows the sufferings and dangers which threaten His Church, and all at once He will arise, command the storm by His Almighty word, and once more give back peace and liberty to His Church.

The storm of temptation. There arise storms in the lives of individuals also, when sufferings and temptations assail them. Sometimes a person seems in danger of sinking, i. e. of sinning and losing eternal life. But God is near him, with His help, grace and consolation. St. Bernard says about this: “Though the world should rave and Satan rage, though the flesh should rebel, I will still hope in Thee, O my God; for who has ever hoped in Thee and been confounded?”

Storms of life. So it is in all the storms of life. If only we have confidence in God, and ask Him to come to our aid, He will not fail us in the hour of our need. He whom the winds and the seas obey is ever at hand to help those who invoke His name.

APPLICATION. Many storms arise in your heart, as when, for instance, you are moved to anger or jealousy, or are cast down by cowardice. In all such temptations keep Jesus in your heart, and cry out to Him, saying: “Lord, save me, or I perish!”








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