Jesus had made Capernaum on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee His headquarters. At that time this whole area was teeming with people and bust­ling with activity. Capernaum was well­suited to serve as the center of the activ­ity of Jesus during the time that He was active in Galilee. .


The Sea of Galilee itself is compara­tively small. It is 13 miles at its longest and about 8 miles at its widest part. The surface of the lake lies 695 feet below sea level. The hills on the north, east, and west sides rise over a 1000 feet above the surface of the water.


The prevailing wind in Palestine is from the west and northwest. This be­gins blowing along the coast around 9 A.M. and moves inland. In the afternoon the wind becomes progressively cooler as the day begins to wane. The cooler breezes also have their effect on the Sea of Galilee. It is fascinating to sit on the slopes and watch the effect which the cooler breezes have on the warm air hov­ering over the warm water. The smooth surface of the lake begins to be ruffled up with many ripples.


When the day has been especially warm and the cool breezes are especially cool, a storm will likely occur. As the cool breezes hit the warm air and water, rough and dangerous waves can quickly result. The fishermen of the area know how exceedingly dangerous such waves can become.




Some years ago a visiting student ask­ed some Arab fishermen whether he could go fishing with them. They gave him per­mission provided that he would be very quiet. When they pushed off from shore in the late afternoon, the student noticed that the fishermen listened very intently. He learned later that they had listened for any unusual sound of a strong wind blow­ing down from the hills of Galilee. This would be a signal to rush for shore as quickly as possible. The fishermen knew too well the tragic treachery of this other­wise very beautiful lake.


Several years ago, an underwater archaeological expedition examined cer­tain parts of off-shore areas of the Sea of Galilee. When they examined the floor of the lake in the vicinity of Magdala at the southwestern end of the Plain of Gen­nesaret, they found a large ship loaded with pottery which had almost but not quite made it to this important port of the New Testament day. The submerged ruins of the ship and its cargo witnessed starkly to the fierceness of a storm on the Sea of Galilee.




The event of our story took place on what is known as the busy day of Jesus. He had been speaking in parables to peo­ple gathered all about Him as He sat in a boat just off shore. He spoke such par­ables as th'!t of the Sower and the Seed, the tares, and the mustard seed. (Mark 4:1-34; Matthew 13:1-53; Luke 8:4­18) .


In the late afternoon, Jesus was weary and worn from a long day of teaching. He asked His disciples to sail over to the other side of the lake where He would be able to get away from the crowds and rest.


As they sailed, a fierce storm arose and threatened to submerge and destroy the ship. It is essential to keep in mind that a good number of Jesus' disciples were seasoned fishermen. From their years of fishing they knew well this lake with all its moods and whims. Humanly speaking, they felt that the storm was so great that they were doomed to lose their lives in its churning waters.


Read carefully the account of Mat­thew. Note that when the terrified dis­ciples woke Jesus up, He chided them while He was still lying in the back of the boat. Then He got up and commanded the stormy waters to become calm. A word from Jesus, the mighty Son of God, and the raging waves became as smooth as glass. Mark and Luke chided the dis­ciples a second time after the waves calmed. "Why are you fearful, 0 you of little faith."


Note the effect this miracle had on the disciples. The full significance of what it meant that He was the promised Messiah, the Son of God, had not penetrated their understanding. The Jewish view of the Messiah did not include that He would be the divine Son of God and as such also the Lord of creation.


Cool breezes quickly turn the calm waters of the Sea of Galilee into angry waves.