Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 5 Study # 1
April 5, 2009
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.
1901 ASV Translation:
22 Now it came to pass on one of those days, that he entered into a boat, himself and 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 filling with water, and were in jeopardy.
24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. And he awoke, 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 being afraid they marvelled, saying one to another, Who then is this, that he commandeth even the winds and the water, and they obey him?
- I. The Details.
- A. The "...it came to pass on one of the days..." seems to be Luke's way of saying that Jesus was ordering the events of the days so that the "lessons" would make their impact. As literature requires a cohesive unity and progression in order to communicate, so "life" needs to be seen as under a Godly dominion wherein events connect with each other for His purposes. That Luke tied the recorded events to "one of the [those] days" means that he is moving on in his arguments regarding Jesus, the Christ.
- B. Jesus' actions and words "launched" the disciples.
- 1. If the search engine is accurate, this is one of seven times in the New Testament that Luke's verb, "launched", is used in the passive voice (this, out of 24 uses, only 3 of which are not Luke's). With the exception of Matthew 4:1 these seven passives all have to do with setting out in a boat. The tense may be indicative of the reality that the boat is somewhat at the whim of the weather and seas once it is launched.
- 2. The issue of Luke's wording is found in his perspective of Jesus' dealings with His disciples as preparation for the work (9:1-2).
- C. The words of Jesus were ordinary. No one would have guessed that they were going to be the issue of the event.
- D. Then, while they were doing the "sailing", Jesus slept. There is no indication that He knew, or anticipated, that a potent storm was about to come upon them. At least one student of this text has suggested that the "Legion" of the next paragraph had something to do with it. That has some difficulties associated with it (the "Legion" knew better than the disciples Who Jesus was and of what He was capable, so sending a storm would not have made much sense -- though demons are not known for "sense"). Be that as it may be, the Logos Library System translates the word "storm" as "hurricane". This implies that Luke wanted Theophilus to understand the potency of the storm.
- II. The Point: Where Is Your Faith?
- A. Two questions.
- 1. What were they supposed to have "believed"?
- 2. What would have shown "faith"?
- B. Two answers.
- 1. The issue of "faith" is two-fold: content and conviction.
- a. Content arises out of specific divine commitment(s).
- 1) In our text, Jesus said, "Let us go over unto the other side of the lake."
- 2) There is no "other" content for which to "fault" the disciples. This has to mean that every divine "command" is also a "promise" to be believed. Jesus had revealed His "plan" and it was theirs to "believe" He meant for it to be done. That He gave them the responsibility of "doing" it did not mean that He was depending upon them to "do" it. "Depending" ought always to have a legitimate Object, and frail children of dust do not qualify.
- b. Conviction arises out of "hearing the divine commitment(s)" (Romans 10:17) along with enough "power" from the Holy Spirit to make the Truth "acceptable" (1 Thessalonians 1:5). Since the disciples were faulted for a lack of faith, we must assume that they were not at the point where the ministry of the Spirit was "possible" to them in the sense that there are blockages to that ministry that can keep it from having a good effect (Genesis 6:3; Deuteronomy 29:4; and Mark 8:17).
- 1) On the one hand we must understand that it is never acceptable to call God a "liar" ("...he that believeth not God hath called Him a liar..." -- 1 John 5:10) so that "unbelief" is never "acceptable" and cannot be "justified".
- 2) On the other hand we must also understand that moving fallen human beings from darkness into light is a multi-step process during which they will call God a liar many times.
- 3) Jesus' question, "Where is your faith?" was a goad that highlighted their fault so that they would move down the road toward greater Light. Fault-finding by God seems to have two possible objectives: it might be to lay a foundation for the outpouring of His wrath; or, it might be to lay a foundation for progress by the ones at fault.
- 2. The question of how "faith" would have manifested itself is more difficult because of the manifold issues involved in personalities and how the Truth makes its impact within them, but it would have been "faith" for someone in that boat to go to Jesus and say, "Master, we are not able to make any headway in our attempts to be obedient to your instructions; what do You want us to do?"