The mission of the Messiah, 1:5-9:50

5. The dawning of the kingdom in the words of Messiah, 8:1-56

Stilling the storm - nature stilled


Jesus and his disciples are sailing on lake Galilee when they are caught by a sudden squall. The close proximity of the hot dry desert and deep gullies and revenues promotes sudden dangerous squalls on the lake. With the boat about to sink, the disciples cry out to Jesus. Jesus, who Mark tells us is asleep in the stern of the boat, rebukes the storm and then rebukes the disciples' lack of faith. The disciples respond in amazement, wondering at the authority of someone who can command even the wind and the sea.


Jesus has authority over the powers that are hostile to mankind, an authority exercised through his word and appropriated by faith.


i] Context: See 8:1-18. In the third episode of The dawning of the kingdom in the words of Messiah, 8:1-56, The stilling of the storm, we are confronted again with the authoritative word of Jesus and the requisite response of faith. "Jesus has power over sea and demons, that is, over all that is hostile to man", Danker.


ii] Structure: This narrative, The stilling of the storm, presents as follows:

Setting, v22;

The storm, v23;

Jesus stills the storm, v24;

A deserved rebuke and response, v25:

"where is your faith?"

"who is this? He commands even wind and water ...."


iii] Interpretation:

Although often defined as a nature miracle, it is likely that this story illustrates Jesus' authority over the powers of evil, over Satan and his minions; the storm "is a work of the demon world and is quelled by exorcism", Evans. For a first century Jew, the sea (the abyss, the primeval sea, chaos) holds within its darkness hostile powers that would happily engulf God's people. These demonic powers were rising up against Jesus, but in reality they neither had the authority nor the power to confront God's messiah. One word from Jesus stilled them. By now the disciples should have realized who they were following and should have rested in faith on him, but like the crowds they are left with amazement, not faith.

Luke's account recognizes that the disciples had the capacity to exercise faith on this occasion, but they didn't; "where is it?" Luke has reformed Mark's "Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?" (ou[pw "not yet") as it implies that fear has overcome their fledgling faith. Marshall follows this line suggesting that "the disciples should have trusted his (Christ's) power to help them." Yet, given the disciples' response, the problem is a lack of information. Saving faith entails a hearing of the word of God and a resting on it ("hear the word of God and put it into practice", 8:21). The disciples obviously do not fully understand the messianic qualifications of Jesus, although the answer to their question will not be hard to work out. Jesus, as God's promised messiah, has authority over all hostile powers that would seek to affront God's people; he "has shown himself able to exercise God's personal mastery over all the forces of destruction", Nolland.


Note how the stilling of the storm is thematically linked to the exorcism of the Gerasene demoniac.


Allusion to Old Testament sources: A number of commentators have noted the allusions to Psalm 78, in that "God showed his mighty deliverance, overwhelming their (Israel's) enemies in the sea", Danker. cf. v53. Note also the references to God exercising his authority over the sea, Ps.29:3-4, 65:7, 89:9, 107:28-30. Possibly also Jonah 1.


iv] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 8:22

The stilling of the storm, v22-25. i] Setting, v22: Luke's account of this incident begins with a general "on one occasion", telling us that Jesus embarks with his disciples and sets sail across lake Galilee.

egeneto (ginomai) "-" - [and] it came about. "It happened", Moffatt.

en mia/ twn hJmerwn "one day" - on one of the days. Temporal; "on one of these days", Moffatt. The genitive twn hJmerwn, "of the days", is adjectival, partitive.

dielqwmen (diercomai) aor. subj. "Let's go over" - let go over. Hortatory subjunctive. "Let us cross over to the other side of the Lake", Barclay. The way Mark has the story it would seem they were heading away from Capernaum.

thV limnhV (h) gen. "[to the other side] of the lake" - The genitive is adjectival, partitive.

enebh (embainw) aor. "they got [into a boat]" - they embarked [into a boat]. The word is used as a technical term for "embark".

anhcqhsan (anagw) aor. pas. "[and] set out" - they set out. Again, Luke has used another technical terms meaning to "put out to sea".


ii] The storm, v23: While Jesus is asleep, a violent squall hits the boat and it begins to take on water. It is not unusual for violent squalls to come sweeping out of the desert and swirl down the ravines onto the lake. Jesus and his disciples have struck just such an occasion.

pleontwn (plew) gen. pres. part. "as they sailed" - sailing. The genitive absolute participle serves to form a temporal clause; "while they were on their way", Cassirer.

afupnwsen (afupnow) aor. "he fell asleep" - Luke's narrative improves on Mark's account in that he has Jesus falling asleep before the storm hits.

lailay (ay aptoV) "a squall" - a storm. Probably a "hurricane". It swept down (katabainw "came down") from the hills. Mark gives more detail than Luke, portraying the dark impulses of chaos and disorder now engulfing the boat and its occupants.

anemou (oV) gen. "-" - of wind. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "a storm."

suneplhrounto (sunplhrow) imperf. "the boat was being swamped" - they were being filled up. "They" meaning "the boat", but expressed this way since the boat and crew are one. The disciples, along with Jesus, are included in the "they". The imperfect, as with "were in danger" = "were in danger of drowning", expresses the durative nature of the action, ie. the boat was in the process of filling up.


iii] Jesus stills the storm, 24: There is value in comparing the different accounts of this incident in the gospels. Matthew has the disciples saying "Lord save us, we are perishing", Mark has "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?", and Luke has "Master, Master, we are perishing". So, Matthew expresses a cry for help, Mark an accusation, and Luke a warning. For Luke, it's as if the disciples are warning Jesus to prepare for an impending dunking. Jesus' response is immediate; he silences the storm, muzzling it. Mark actually has Jesus say "be still". We might say today "shut up". The result is total calm, no wind, and more particularly, no waves.

proselqonteV (prosercomai) aor. part. "the disciples went" - having come to, approached. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "they woke"; "they went and woke him", Moffatt.

legonteV (legw) pres. part. "saying" - The participle is usually treated as adverbial, modal, as NIV, but instrumental, expressing means, is possible.

epistata epistata "Master, Master" - Expressing agitation on the part of the disciples, and possibly their annoyance that Jesus could sleep through such a situation, although Mark expresses this emotion more so than Luke. It is quite possible that the disciples do not expect Jesus to still the storm, just that he might need to know that they are about to drown. Although note Matthew, "Save, Lord, we are perishing."

apollumeqa (apollumi) pres. "we are drowning" - we are perishing, lost. Durative present. "We're all about to die", Junkins.

diegerqeiV (diegeirw) aor. pas. part. "he got up" - having been roused, woken up, awakened. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "he rebuked".

epetimhsen (epitimaw) aor. "rebuked" - "Reminiscent of exorcism language", Nolland. Note Mark adds Jesus' words "be stilled" = "be muzzled", emphasizing the idea that Jesus is silencing / binding an evil power. Followed by datives of direct object, tw/ anemw/ kai tw/ kludwni, "wind and roughness [of the water]"; "he spoke sternly to the wind and (kai, connective) the raging waters."

tou uJdatoV (wr atoV) gen. "[raging] waters" - [roughness] of the water. The genitive is adjectival, but is probably attributed; "rough water."

epausanto (pauw) aor. "the storm subsided" - they stopped. The subject is obviously both the wind and the raging waters. "Upon this they subsided and a great stillness arose", Cassirer.

galhnh (hV) "[and all was] calm" - [and it became] calm. Hapax legomenon. Plummer notes that it would be unnatural for the sea to suddenly stop churning after a heavy squall, further emphasizing the wonder of the moment.


iv] Jesus' rebuke and the response of the disciples, v25: The sense is that Jesus is somewhat frustrated with his disciples. He has been woken from a sound sleep for no good reason. It is simply not possible for God's messiah and his community to be overcome by hostile powers in the exercise of their mission. The response of the disciples indicates that they still don't understand that Jesus is the messiah set on the task of establishing God's eternal kingdom and that no power, natural or otherwise, can hinder the proclamation of God's powerful word in Christ. So, they lack faith because they lack understanding.

pou "where [is your faith]" - where [the faith of you]. Interrogative. The genitive uJmwn, "your", is adjectival, possessive, but possibly verbal, subjective.

fobhqenteV (fobew) aor. pas. part. "in fear [and amazement]" - being afraid [they were amazed, wondered]. The relationship of this participle and the participle legonteV, "saying", with the verb "they were amazed, is not clear; "being afraid they were amazed saying." Both participles may be attendant on the verb, one attendant and one adverbial, probably modal, expressing manner, or both modal, eg. "they however, were awed and in amazement said to one another", Berkeley; "they marvelled in awe, saying to one another", Moffatt. The word "fear" in the scriptures, when related to a theophany of some sort, is best understood as "awe". So, "they were awestruck and astonished", Barclay. The word "amazed / astonished" is used to describe a response to Jesus which may, or may not, lead to faith.

tiV "who [is this] .... ?" - who [therefore is this]? This interrogative pronoun forms a question which with ara, "therefore" includes a deductive process, ie. the disciples are already trying to work out what all this means; "who can this be?", Zerwick.

oJti "-" - that. It is likely that the conjunction here introduces a dependent statement of direct speech, expressing what the disciple say, as NIV, although a causal sense is possible, as AV.

epitassei (epitassw) pres. "he commands" - he orders, commands.

kai .... kai "even [the winds] and [the water]" - The first use of kai is ascensive, while the second is connective.

autw/ dat. pro. "[they obey] him" - to him. Dative of direct object; "they are obedient to him."


Luke Introduction



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