Luke 8:22-25 He’s Just Asleep in the Boat.
Did you ever wonder what it means to meditate on the Word day and night? It means that we should constantly be studying the scriptures and contemplating what God is trying to tell us. We should discuss them with the Lord, with our own hearts, and with one another. We should be in a manner of constant encouragement and refinement of our thoughts and attitudes concerning life, our families, communities, and God himself. During this time of uncertainty we can take a look at an event in scripture that is recorded in Luke chapter 8 and see how we can chew up this passage, digest it, and make it part of our life.
Jesus Calms a Storm
22 Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. 23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. 24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him. (Luke 8:22-25)
The term certain day shows us that this was an actual event that took place. The event has a particular time, place, and people involved. For the writer and those involved, it is a matter of history and fact. They lived this event. The things that unfold in this short story are real and binding on the hearts of the witnesses, this is their account as relayed to Luke. The events are further corroborated by Matthew in his gospel account in Matthew 8:23-27. So here we have two witnesses of this account in writing. This is very important. You see in Deuteronomy 17:6 it tells us, “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.” (Deuteronomy 17:6) You see here that all it takes to sentence a man to death according to Hebrew law is for two witnesses to bring a credible witness against the accused. If this is what is required to condemn a man to death then it is enough to validate this event.
So we see that the disciples and Jesus were on passage on a boat and when Jesus went to sleep, a violent storm came. The wind was howling, the boat was taking on water, these men felt that their lives were in danger from forces they could not control. Take note, these were not inexperienced Saturday afternoon boaters. Most of these men were fishermen. These men were of strong hand and backs, they had been in a storm or two in their years of fishing. If you have ever met a sailor, they often pride themselves on the storms they have endured on the seas. However; this was not the same kind of storm that these men had endured before. This storm frightened them to the point of fearing death. It was pretty easy for them to see that the boat would likely be crushed in the waves, the wind and water was overtaking the boat. They had no control over their circumstances. All of their lives were passing before their eyes. Wives lips that would never be kissed again, children that would never be played with again. The sunrises they would miss. Songs that they would never sing again. As they looked over their possessions, their homes, their clothes, money, land, and more they began realize how little value those things actually had. They could see that they had focused their whole lives on things that really didn’t matter. Their children, their spouses, their families, and their God are the things that mattered. Now they could see that each of them alone would have to face God and each give an account for their lives and sins. “Oh my, did I confess all my sins during the atonement?” “Did God actually forgive me?” “If only I had a Rabbi here now!”…. “Wait… I do!” Then they turn their eyes toward Jesus.
Jesus is sleeping. In all of this storming wind, spraying of water, beating of the waves, screaming of the men, Jesus is steadfast asleep. He is in a place of safety and comfort. Peacefully like a baby he is there sleeping, probably laying in a puddle of water, soaked from head to toe, but asleep none the less. Lenny LeBlanc released a song a few decades ago that I use to love listening to. The name of the song was Asleep in the Boat. It talks about a promise God made, and that he is always there, just as Jesus was here with his disciples. Just like when we are in the storm, He is here for us. I often wonder what Jesus was dreaming about. I wonder if this scripture from Isaiah 49:15-16 is what he was thinking of, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me”.
Jesus could have been dreaming of his home that he left behind, or how much he missed being with the Father. He could have been dreaming that the swaying of the boat in the waves was him being rocked in the arms of his loving Father. We could spend all day just contemplating this little portion of the scripture. Something to contemplate. Jesus might not have been asleep at all. He may have been there just listening and observing with his eyes closed. Waiting for just one of them to say, you know if Jesus is not worried, then neither am I. He could have been waiting for them to just ask for him to help. He could have been waiting to see if they had learned anything in how to pray. After all they did already ask him how to pray, and he gave a line-by-line example of how one should pray. He had already taught them on many things concerning faith and waiting on the Lord. He could have been testing his disciples to see how they were developing. I wonder sometimes if I could pass such a test. Looking death right in the face, would I have enough faith to just lay down and sleep, trusting in the Lord for whatever his will was. There is allot to contemplate concerning God, and ourselves in this passage. One thing for sure, the disciples did not care that he was sleeping peacefully. They woke him up.
The fear and anxiety the disciples were experiencing was relayed in their choice of words; “Master, we perish”. They were saying that they just knew they were all dead men, including Jesus. There plea to Jesus is not one of faith that he can deliver them. It is a last ditch effort that maybe the preacher can pray for us and God might hear him and just maybe he will save us. They had no idea that this is the real-to-life, Son of God that they have just awoken and revealed their total lack of faith to. Now something to once again stop and meditate on. How often do we do this? How often do we look at the circumstance and look at God and assume he was asleep. Do we actually believe that he has our best interests in mind? What if his will is different than ours? Do we have faith to accept that will, knowing that even though we cannot understand it, that he is doing what is best for us and keeping us in his plan? That my fellow believer is steadfast faith. This is nothing that Jesus didn’t do for us. He led by example.
In the Garden the night before his execution when Jesus prayed the scripture uses phrases like, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death”…”he went forward an little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: never the less not what I will, but what thou wilt”. See Jesus did exactly what we are expected to do. Pray for our need, but submit to the will of the Father. Know that what he is asking us to do is needful and necessary. If Jesus would not have suffered for us, then we would not know the Father. If you do not have times of suffering, someone else who may have come to know Jesus by the example of your faith, might die in their sins. We have to trust in his will, that is faith. Standing in that hope and knowledge of the love of God towards you is exercising that faith. So then the disciples awoke Jesus in some vague hope that he just might be close enough to God to do something.
Well it turns out that Jesus has some authority that the disciples were not aware of. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. When the disciples had finally exhausted themselves and all of their resources and were still hopeless in their situation, they called on Jesus. Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and the waters and the wind and the waters ceased… and there was a calm. This says “a” calm. It was dead silence. No one had ever seen the winds and raging seas obey a man. The closes things to this was the parting of the Red Sea and the Jordan River. I imagine that Peter and the rest of them were thinking the same thing. Holy MOSES Batman! One thing is for sure, there fear of the things of nature turned into the fear of God. Things that no man could control were controlled by the words spoken by Jesus. “In the beginning was the Word”… “Then God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”… “I placed boundaries on it and set a bolt and doors, and I said, Thus far you shall come, but no farther; and here shall your proud waves stop”… my there is a lot to meditate on in this little section of scripture. You see they did not know that the very God who created the oceans, and established their boundaries was in the boat with them. Even when he rebuked the waves, they still did not fully understand. That is the way we are. We believe that the Lord has saved us and that he still delivers us out of our troubles, yet we still doubt him and need constant reassurances from him. We often fail to trust him, even though we know that he is right there in the boat with us. We confess that he has all authority, then we act like we are hopeless and being tossed about the seas, instead of being rocked to sleep in his loving arms.
Jesus asked them, “Where is your faith?” That translated into “Where is your faith?” We Jesus in all fairness we don’t know of when you promised to deliver us from a storm! Really? Let us go to Psalms. “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. 30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalm 107:29-31) Oh, you mean that? Just because it is so specific and says exactly what happened in this event, somehow that applies. Yes, you see to meditate on the scriptures is to learn of the Lord, and ALL of his ways. We are to write his words upon our hearts, on our foreheads, on our street corners, and on our door posts. We are to tell them to our children, sing of them in our gatherings, teach them in our schools, and most of all encourage one another in their meanings. God loves us so much he wrote a whole 66 volume set of books for us to learn about him, his provisions, and his love for us. Meditate on that.