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2 Before Lent



Today’s Gospel reading tells of the time when Jesus calmed a storm on the Sea of Galilee.

The incident occurs relatively early in Jesus’ ministry. So far, this ministry has taken place in Jewish towns and villages in Galilee. Up to this point in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus has been establishing his authority. He demonstrated his authority over illness by healing the sick. He showed his authority over the forces of evil by casting out demons. He even showed his authority over death by raising the widow of Nain’s son from the dead. He claimed the authority to forgive sins. But, so far, all of this has taken place in what was essentially Jewish territory. How far will his authority extend?

Our Gospel story begins today with Jesus telling the disciples of his intention to cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. This will be Jesus’ first journey into Gentile territory. Will his authority still hold in these unfamiliar places? Luke doesn’t comment, but I can imagine the disciples feeling uncertain at the prospect of this journey. We, who can read on, know that this journey will lead to one of the strangest encounters in all the Gospels when Jesus meets and heals a man possessed by a legion of devils, sending them into a herd of pigs. This lay in the future but there may well have been a sense of uncertainty and foreboding in the air at the prospect of leaving the familiar villages and towns of Galilee for foreign shores.

The voyage started well enough, and Jesus fell asleep in the boat. He no doubt felt relaxed and would have had every confidence that all was well. Firstly, he trusted in God. Also, his companions included several fishermen who would have been experienced sailors. We can imagine that they knew every inlet and detail of the lake and how to manage such a boat in all manner of conditions.

The weather rapidly deteriorated, however, and soon even these experienced sailors were in fear of their lives…and Jesus continued sleeping! They woke him up with the cry ‘Master, we are perishing!’ Jesus then rebuked the wind and the waves and there was a sudden calm. He asked the disciples ‘Where is your faith?’ The disciples were amazed but also afraid and asked: ‘Who then is this that even the winds and the sea obey him?’

So, who does have authority over the wind and the sea? Psalm 107 v29 makes clear that this is the activity of God. ‘He made the storm be still and the waves of the sea were hushed.’ Jesus is, therefore, presented in this story as having authority even over the wind and the sea and so as having divine status. No wonder the disciples were both amazed and afraid.

Jesus led the disciples out of their comfort zone in Galilee and into a strange new situation. Christians, today, can live much of their lives in a comfort zone. They go to church on Sunday and may, sometimes, spend much of the week in fellowship with friends from church. In this environment they are happy to acknowledge Jesus as Lord. But what if they are called out of this comfort zone? It might be a big move – a new job or moving to a new area. It might be talking to a stranger or volunteering for a charity. It might be a conversation with a friend who has no faith. Do we trust Jesus to be Lord in new and unfamiliar situations? And when difficulties arise, do we presume God to be asleep and indifferent to our plight? This story reassures us that the Lordship of Christ is universal, and it encourages us to see life with Jesus as an adventure. Often the most difficult part of discipleship is being prepared to leave our comfort zone in the first place and set sail!


  • Has there been a time when you have left a comfort zone and embarked on something new?
  • What did this experience teach you about yourself, and what did it teach you about your faith in Jesus Christ?


Page last updated: Friday 11th February 2022 10:32 AM
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