Sailing Across the Sea

by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

AFTER THE day of teaching in parables, when the evening came on, as the crowds were still pressing upon Jesus and giving him no time to rest, he said to his disciples:

"Let us sail across the lake to the other side." So they made ready the boat and took Jesus on board. Some of the people were so eager to be with Jesus that they also went into other boats and sailed with him. Jesus was very tired after his day of teaching and he lay down in the rear end of the boat, resting his head upon one of the cushions. In the steady motion of the oars and the gentle rippling of the waves, Jesus soon fell asleep, while the boat moved onward over the lake. Soon the night came and the disciples rowed on in the darkness.

On the Sea of Galilee, storms often arise very suddenly. The water may be perfectly calm for a time and then in a few minutes lashed into fury by the wind. So it came to pass while Jesus was sleeping. A great wind arose, the waves rolled high and dashed into the boat; but Jesus slept on peacefully.

At least four of the twelve disciples, and we know not how many more, were fishermen. They knew how dangerous these sudden storms might be; and as they saw the boat filling with water and beginning to sink, they were frightened. Coming to Jesus, they awoke him, crying out, "Master, Master, we are lost! Help us or we shall drown!"

The storm, with all the noise of creaking sails and roaring winds and dashing waves, had not awaked Jesus, but the cries of his frightened disciples aroused him from his sleep. He looked around, saw the dashing waves and said just these words:

"Peace, be still!"

At once the wind ceased, the waves smoothed down and there was perfect calm upon the sea. Then Jesus spoke to his disciples, saying:

"Why are you so fearful? Have you so little faith in me?"

They might have known that whether their Master was awake or asleep, they were safe if he was with them. They wondered at this new proof of Jesus' power, and said to each other:

"Who can this be that can speak to the winds and the waves and they obey his words!"