Full bible text
23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marvelled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
About this painting
After a tiring day of teaching, Jesus wants to cross the Lake of Galilee. His disciples follow Him into the ship. The texts immediately preceding this story are about following Jesus. Matt.8:18-22.
Jesus falls asleep in the stern, on a cushion, in the stern. (Mark 4:38) That ‘cushion’ is a bag of sand used to stabilize the ship.
Then a great storm arises.
The disciples, who were fishermen by trade and familiar with the situation on the lake, cannot prevent the ship from sinking. In their distress they awaken Jesus and cry out, ‘Lord, save us, we are perishing!’ In their anguish, however, they realize that He can help. Waking up, Jesus asks them why they are so anxious. ‘Where is your faith?’ Luke 8: 25
Then He rises and “rebukes” the winds and the sea. ‘And there was a great calm’.
The disciples now become afraid for another reason, and say, "Who then is this, that the winds and the sea also obey him?"
This miracle shows the divine authority of the Lord Jesus. After all, no one can control and command the elements of nature in this way but God alone. The Old Testament also says that:
‘O LORD God of hosts,
who is mighty as you are, O LORD,
with your faithfulness all around you?
You rule the raging of the sea;
when its waves rise, you still them’.
Also Psalm 65: 8, Psalm 93:4, Psalm 107: 23-32, Isaiah 51: 9-10.
Jesus proved not only to have power over diseases, and power over demonic powers by delivering people from them; now He also shows His authority over the elements of nature. This shows even more clearly that He is more than just human: He is one with God the Father. In Luke 9:20, Jesus asks, ‘But who do you say that I am? And Peter answered and said, The Christ (Messiah) of God.’
The church is sometimes compared to a ship. All kinds of storms can arise which threaten to sink it; persecution, false teaching, sin, opposition of the devil. The resistance that Jesus encounters in the world also affects His followers. It is noteworthy that in the book of Job Satan is given the opportunity by God to affect everything that Job had, except his life. In Job 1:19 there is mention of a storm wind that causes the house in which Job's children were, to collapse. Does Satan also have a hand in the storm on the lake? The word "rebuke" is also used elsewhere when Jesus addresses demonic powers and powers of disease.
Either way, in every storm, the Lord of the Church has authority over the forces that threaten it. This story appeals to the followers of Jesus to believe / trust in Him in every situation.