According to Nelson’s Illustrated Manners and customs of the Bible, there were two mountains in Galilee that were formed by earthquakes. They are Mount Tabor and Mount Arbel. We will climb the gentle rising ascent to the 30 peace be stillpeak of Mount Arbel which overlooks the Sea of Galilee. The view is simply magnificent! From this perspective you can see “the arena of Jesus’ ministry: the valley of Gennosar, the Mount of the Beatitudes, Capernaum, and the blue waters of the Sea of Galilee, and the Golan Heights beyond.” This rise is known as the Arbela. Across from it is the Golan. It’s a rise as well and these two, the Golan and the Arbela, “are responsible for creating the winds that blow over the lake and produce ferocious storms. The lake itself is located 690 feet below sea level; it is 15 miles long and six miles wide.” Because of the hills surrounding the lake, which produce wind tunnels, it is prone to violent storms which come upon it quickly. Several of Jesus’ disciples made their living as fishermen on this lake.

In Matthew 8:23-27 we read about one of these storms overcoming the boat in which Jesus and his fishermen disciples were in. As the storm increased in intensity, the disciples cried out to Jesus for help. Jesus was resting peacefully in the boat and sleeping soundly. No storm could shake Him! The disciples woke Jesus and pleaded for help. Jesus rebuked them for two things. Butler says, “First, the rebuking of their fear. ‘Why are ye fearful?’ The word translated ‘fearful’ in meaning ‘denotes cowardice and timidity and is never used in a good sense’ (Vine). The disciples’ fear with Christ on board was an insult to Him. Our fleshly fears dishonor God. Second, the rebuking of their faith. ‘O ye of little faith.’ Christ’s evaluation of their faith was doubtless not what they thought about their faith. We have a tendency to evaluate ourselves much higher than God does. They probably thought they had great faith, but Christ says they had ‘little faith.’ Faith is important to God. ‘Without faith it is impossible to please Him’ (Hebrews 11:6). We all need more faith; and if the disciples only had ‘little faith,’ how much greater would Christ rebuke us who are far less spiritual than the disciples.”

Don’t we have Jesus with us? Isn’t He in our boat? We have nothing to fear! Every storm in life is under His control. Jesus takes care of storms. He not only rebuked the disciples for their fear and lack of faith, He went on to rebuke the storm itself. Verse 26 says, “He…rebuked the winds and the sea.” Butler continues his commentary, “Other Gospel accounts of this miracle indicate that a command was also involved—Christ ordered the storm to stop. The emphasis here is on the Word of God in the miracle. Christ spoke and it was done. There followed, as the text says, “…a great calm.” Fear is always the result of “little faith.” Christ always produces a great calm!