22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 23 and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. 24 And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”Luke 8:22-25, ESV
We Have a Responsibility to Obey.
Luke, led by the Spirit, has crafted this gospel to help us to see who Jesus truly was and what He came to accomplish. In this eighth chapter, Jesus has emphasized the theme of hearing and obeying the words of God. This theme is again the topic of discussion, but there is a new dimension to observe. Let’s outline this theme of obeying God’s word in Luke’s eighth chapter to help us see the new dimension more clearly:
- In the parable of the sower, the emphasis on hearing and obeying God’s word was an ability graciously bestowed upon people. In turn, that gift of grace needs to be exercised by all who receive it.
- The parable of the lamp’s emphasis is on the importance of how a person responds to hearing God’s word. The obedience that Jesus means to draw out of His hearers is repentance.
- The story of Jesus’ mother and brothers who were interrupting His ministry emphasized a better relationship established by faith.
Jesus’ supernatural family are those people who hear and obey His word. So far, the focus in Luke 8 has been teaching us the necessity and responsibility we have to respond correctly to God’s word.
We Ought to Learn to Obey Like This.
Now that we have seen our personal responsibility to respond to God’s word, we will now observe an incredible illustration of responding to God’s word. In our text, Jesus enters a ship with His disciples. As they make their way across the Sea of Galilee, Jesus has taken a nap. While Jesus is asleep, there is a sudden change in weather, and the boat is caught in the middle of a deadly wind storm. The disciples are afraid for their lives. A few of these men were commercial fishermen before following Jesus full-time, and they clearly understood this danger. Luke tells us, “they went and woke him, saying, Master, Master, we are perishing!”
Jesus woke up and rebuked the storm. Can you imagine the puzzled look on Peter’s face for a moment when Jesus’ eyes gazed all around Him, and He spoke authoritatively at the elements? I can’t help but imagine Peter asking himself to whom is Jesus talking? However, that moment of confusion was nearly forgotten when the wind immediately ceased, and the sea became as calm as glass. It was crystal clear that Jesus commanded the storm, and the storm immediately obeyed as a servant would to a king. The fear that the disciples had in the storm was not gone but transferred. The storm might as well have been a distant memory because now the disciples were frozen in fear of Jesus. Luke tells us the question on everyone’s mind, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” They knew Jesus better than anyone else on the earth, but they did not yet comprehend who He really was. How was Jesus able to authoritatively command the wind and sea? Because the creation knows its Creator and always obeys His voice. That was the logical conclusion that the disciples would eventually reach.
Faith’s Logical Reasoning to Obey.
The contrast between Christ, peacefully at rest in the middle of the storm while His disciples are gripped by fear, is beautifully poetic and powerfully transformative. Jesus will calm the storm and ask them, “where is your faith?” I suppose if the Apostles weren’t still so afraid, they might have answered similarly to us. How do I mean? When we find ourselves fearful in the metaphorical storms of life, and we forget our faith, the natural response to Jesus’ question from our lips would likely be, “I thought I was going to die, and I lost sight of my faith.” Isn’t that an ironic thought? Isn’t faith meant to stare death in the face and declare that it is a defeated foe? So when we find ourselves in a fight for our lives, that is precisely when the world should see our faith most clearly.
The logic of Jesus’ simple question, “where is your faith?” is penetrating. Jesus has commanded you to get into the boat to go to the other side of the lake. All must obey Jesus’ words because they are the words of life. Therefore, if you obey Jesus’ words to get into the boat to go to the other side of the lake, you shall not die in a storm before reaching the destination. Why are you afraid? Because your faith is wavering. Jesus rebuked the storm’s rage first and his disciple’s unbelief second. Faith isn’t a blind leap in the dark. Faith is logically seeing the outcome of God’s promises and obeying His word despite the perceived dangers.
Actions are Required.
Although we have barely scratched the surface of this passage, we have indeed found, as it were, golden nuggets lying in the topsoil. We desire to be doers and not hearers only, so what might we being to do? First, take notice of the storm’s swift reply. When we hear God speak to us through the scriptures, we mustn’t delay a moment. Do as your King commands, because His commands are not grievous (1 Jo 5:3). His words are the very words of life, and His purpose is to do His children good (Jer 29:11). Second, learn to think logically about the promises of God. Be obedient at the sound of your Master’s voice, but meditate upon His words. Think often and think deeply about the words, sentences, paragraphs, and books that your Lord has provided for your good. We are not required to understand before we obey, but our joy in God is magnified as we learn. Our faith is logical, and as we are transformed inwardly by uncovering this logic.