A company of visitors was standing on the shore at Tiberias, and, noting the glassy surface of the water and the smallness of the lake, they expressed doubts as to the possibility of such storms as those described in the gospels. Almost immediately the wind sprang up. In twenty minutes the sea was white with foam-crested waves. Great billows broke over the towers at the corners of the city walls, and the visitors were compelled to seek shelter from the blinding spray, though now two hundred yards from the lakeside.
The Galilean boats of Jesus' day did not have keels, so were not very stable. In choppy water they could easily be swamped, especially if a squall suddenly struck and they had a sail up. No wonder the disciples were panicking! In their panic they woke Jesus; they had no idea what he would do, but no doubt hoped he'd do something - even lending a hand with the bailing might have helped. What he did made them almost as frightened in the calm as in the storm - who is this man? They thought only God had such authority!
Jesus' words surprise us. He rebukes the disciples for being afraid when in danger of drowning! The reason was that despite appearances, they were not in danger. Jesus was with them in the boat; therefore, God would not let the boat sink. That is what he expected them to believe!
ISSUES AND QUESTIONS
What storms affect your life? Is Christ in the boat with you? If he is, how does that affect your attitude to the storms?
IDEAS FOR MEETINGS
Describe a time when you experienced really scary or exhilarating weather.
Read Luke 8:22-25.
Then ask everybody to imagine that they are disciples of Jesus setting off in a boat to cross Lake Galilee. Read Luke 8:23, and ask people to move as if they were in a storm tossed boat - to try and imagine how they would feel. When people seem to be imagining themselves in the thick of the storm, read loudly Psalm 46:1-3.
Then tell everyone to be at peace, be still.
Then read the rest of the Psalm.
Finish with praise and prayer.
(You may want to have music or singing at the beginning and end.)