This is a chapter of great things: great faith (v.10); great fever (v.14; Lk 4.38); great multitudes (v.18); a great tempest (v.24); a great calm (v.26); and a great herd of swine (v.30). When the Lord saw the great multitudes, He gave orders to cross to the other side. At that moment, a scribe, a teacher of the law, approached him and said, "Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest". The Lords answer made it clear that the road of discipleship is no place for the soft (v.20). Another stepped up to enlist, but with some reservation: "Lord, suffer me first to go and bury (care for till death) my father (v.21). The Lords immediate response was He had no room for the mere sentimentalist in His ranks. Luke, in his gospel, adds another to the list of unwilling disciples - the shirker (Lk 9.61-62).
Immediately after this, the Lord got into the boat and His disciples followed Him. Whether they were aware of the fact or not, the Lords followers became a living example of what a disciple really is. They embarked immediately and unreservedly; they did not make conditions or place self first; they also went blindly, knowing nothing of the storm ahead. The crossing was not without incident. The storm arose. There was the sea so boisterous around, a sweeping wind from below upwards (Lk 8.23, Amplified), and surging waves that rose mountains high which threatened to engulf and were already filling the boat. To make matters worse, there was a sleeping Saviour. Luke says that they were "in jeopardy" (Lk 8.23).
The path of discipleship is not without suffering or storms. Few of the Lords disciples are called to face sea storms, but there are different kinds of storms. The apostles discovered that other storms can arise. In Acts 6.1 we read of the murmuring that arose and threatened the peace of the early Church; then disputing arose (Acts 6.9); fierce persecution arose (Acts 11.19); no small stir, but great disturbance arose about "that way" (Acts 19.23).
So many of Gods faithful disciples are called upon to face storms. An unfaithful partner, a broken marriage and home, disobedient children, illness, unemployment, unjust criticism and false accusations, a ministry that appears to have failed, are just a few. The attacks come from beneath and around, and the Lord seems to be insensitive and indifferent, distant and deaf.
Yes, the storm arose, but praise God, so did the Saviour (v.26). How could the disciples fear and fret when He was right there with them? The disciples were only aware of the Lords real humanity, the fact that He was sleeping. I am so glad that my Saviour faced the storms of life, experienced what we presently do. This means that we have a merciful (sympathetic) and faithful High Priest (Heb 2.17-18). How easily they had forgotten His supreme authority. It was He, their Lord, who had given the command to cross. They ignored the evidences of His absolute deity. Was it not this same Person, a short time beforehand, who had cleansed the leper, cured the centurions servant at a distance, and had calmed the raging fever of Peters mother-in-law? How could they possibly entertain the thought that they mattered nothing to Him, and thus contemplate the prospect of drowning?
How can we doubt, even when the odds are piled high against us? This same Person is with us. Just as He arose from sleep, so too He arose from death and the grave, He lives forever and He does care about each one of us. It does matter to Him about you. "Casting the whole of your care - all your anxieties, all you worries, all your concern, once and for all on Him; for He cares for you affectionately, and cares about you watchfully" (1 Pet 5.7, Amplified).