After this time of preaching among crowds who supported him, Jesus pulled back as usual. His organization stopped with his band of twelve followers and various disciples who also joined in. Rather than establishing a following with the larger crowds, he continued to seek out new audiences for his message and works.
I’m not sure why the storm arose or even why Jesus was sleeping through the whole thing, but it is readily apparent in this story that simply having Jesus in your boat doesn’t necessarily guarantee smooth sailing—both literally and figuratively. Though Jesus did eventually stop the storm, a feat that amazed his disciples, he didn’t act until the boat was filled with water and his disciples called to him in terror.
While Jesus seemed shocked at their fear and unbelief, from their point of view the boat was about to sink. They called out to him when all seemed lost. What were they supposed to do?
Jesus challenged them to trust him even more, to believe in him past the point of hopelessness. Could they trust that having Jesus with them was enough?
An interesting parallel story to this is Paul’s shipwreck in the book of Acts. God told Paul that the ship would be lost but every person on board would be spared. Even while Paul’s ship foundered on the coast and then everyone struggled to get ashore, Paul believed that God was able to save them. Suddenly a shipwreck on the Sea of Galilee doesn’t seem quite as daunting in comparison, though storms on this small Lake can be fierce.
Though Jesus revealed that his power extended to nature beyond demons and diseases, it is also interesting to see that as opposition to Jesus hardened in chapter three many difficult times were about to crash down on Jesus and his disciples. Could they trust him even when all hope seemed lost?