Daily Reading for August 16
In the end, Jesus raises Peter up from the water (still without having calmed the storm) and climbs into the boat with the other disciples. It is only now that the wind drops and the sea is calm. In the boat, gathered around Jesus, there is calm and peace. Peter and the others have been saved from the storm, not through their own efforts and abilities or their skills as fishermen, but by the presence of the Son of God in their boat. Gathering around that presence in humble acknowledgment of who he is transforms their world. They now have a new perspective, a new understanding and are now able to complete their journey to the other side of the lake. They know that storms are as much a part of life on the lake as they are a part of life and discipleship. Now they have been shown in a most dramatic way that it does not matter how severe the storm; for the one who believes there is always peace and calm.
Jesus is not presented here as the one who calms the sea and quietens the wind. He is the one who comes to the disciples in the midst of the storm, unhindered by what is raging around them, and who brings peace and comfort—who enables them to continue with their journey in safety. He is the one who is able to do what they, with all their strengths and talents, could not achieve. He comes to them not as the transformer of the world but as the transformer of human lives. The disciples are the ones who are changed in this story, and once they are changed the storms die down. Whether or not it continued to rage is irrelevant, because they now approach it differently, with a new perspective. In their boat, regardless of the sea around them, they have courageous hearts and peaceful minds.
From “For Those Who Trust in God” by Michael Hough, quoted in Best Sermons 5 edited by James W. Cox (Harper & Row, 1992).