Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 5 Study # 2
April 19, 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 Root of Unbelief.
- A. Jesus challenged the men with the question: Where is your faith? The most direct implication is that they were supposed to "have" some. The text says "they were being swamped and endangered." This calls for "faith" of some kind.
- B. At one level, "faith" was supposed to take Jesus' instruction to "go to the other side" as a declaration of His intent and, thus, the basis for "faith". The "problem" was that the details of the current situation typically led to death in previous like-situations so that getting to the other side was removed from "possibility" -- as far as any of the disciples knew. There were possibilities of basic survival (clinging to a broken beam or other floating debris until rescue of some kind could occur), but getting to the other side was simply out of the question.
- C. But, at another level, "faith" needs more than "a declaration of Jesus' intent", as the text shows. The real problem was that the disciples did not know "Who" He was. For them, the demonstration of absolute power over the "forces of nature" (of such a magnitude that the words "a hurricane of wind" are used to describe them) was an "over the top" display that simply made them afraid and confused.
- 1. There seem to be two issues involved in Luke's record.
- a. On the one hand, it is his intent to draw out the "Who" issue so that the Gospel rests solidly upon the identification of Jesus as the One Who defines the character of the "Lord". As Paul said in Romans 10:9, the confession of the "faith" is that "the Lord of the universe is Jesus of Nazareth". This is not the claim that Jesus is "Lord"; it is, rather, the declaration that the "Lord" is this very Jesus. But there is an "order" to the development of this confession: Jesus of Nazareth has to be firmly identified as "Lord" before we can get to the greater fact that the "Lord" is Jesus of Nazareth. Luke is clearly taking the necessary steps to get his reader(s) to "faith".
- b. But on the other hand, it is his intent to foster an active "life of faith" in his reader (this is the most logical extension of his statement in Luke 1:4 that he wrote so that Theophilus "might know the certainty of those things" regarding Jesus). Such a life requires that one begin with Jesus as the definition of the meaning of "Lord" (following the order above) and then move to an understanding of His words as definitive for the choices of life. It is here that we have the greater difficulty: He is no longer 'here' saying such things as "Let us go to the other side of the lake." Instead, we have the inspired words of the Bible and the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit where the focus is upon a quality of character that leads to strictly defined actions and not specific day to day statements about the details of "the will of God" of the "Let us go to the other side" kind. The lack of these kinds of statements make the issue of "faith" even more problematical than it was when Jesus was here uttering them. We are left pretty much with this reality: if we express the character according to its defined action, the details of the days take care of themselves. It is "faith" to do what character requires because of Who He is (like telling the truth when it will create a host of problems, or expressing peace of mind and heart when circumstances do not warrant such a thing). Because of Who Jesus is, He calmed the tempest of wind and water -- to do two things: to show Who He is; and to facilitate the accomplishment of His will to "get to the other side".