Jesus’ Control of the Wind and the Waves



22One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. 23As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. 24The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25“Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him” (Luke 8:22-25).


The Sea of Galilee is more than six hundred feet below sea level and famous for its sudden storms. In 1978, I was living in Israel for several months and because I had been a fisherman from England, I got the opportunity to go out with the local Sea of Galilee fishermen on their diesel-powered fishing boat. I found this experience very interesting, and the fishermen were happy to have me come along. We drank Turkish coffee all night and compared our fishing methods. Even though they had modern electronic gadgets to find the fish, we caught little. The weather was relatively calm, but they did tell me that it can be a dangerous place when the weather worsens. Still, I am sure that the storms these men have witnessed in their lifetime were nothing compared to the storm the disciples faced in the account above.


It is possible that the storm was not natural in origin. Satan is called, “the prince of the power of the air” in Ephesians 2:2. In another place, he is called the “prince of this world” (John 12:31). Does Satan have the power to manipulate the weather? When Satan tempted Job, God replied to him by saying, “Everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger” (Job 1:12). Given permission, we read that the result was that fire came down from the sky, burning up the sheep and the servants, followed by a strong wind that struck the house where his sons and daughters were eating, causing the death of all. I don’t know if this incident we are studying today was of satanic origin, but let us not underestimate our adversary. He does have power, but the Spirit Who is in us is greater than the one who is in this world (1 John 4:4). It is possible that Satan tried to hinder the Lord Jesus’ mission of casting out the Legion demon on the other side of Galilee, the next passage of Scripture.


To back up my thought that maybe this storm was demonically inspired is the use of the word translated “rebuked” in verse 24. Jesus rebuked the wind and the waters. Doesn’t that sound strange to speak to the wind? The Greek word used is epitimao. It can be translated, “To blame, censure, chide, rebuke, warn or berate.” It is an abrupt, curt, and biting charge pointedly expressing disapproval and connotes a sharp or harsh tone. In Mark 1:25, the same word is used to describe the casting out of a demon in Capernaum: “But Jesus rebuked the spirit and said, “Be silent! Come out of him!” The same Greek word is used in another place when Jesus cast out a demon from a boy: “Jesus rebuked the demon and it came out, and he was healed from that moment” (Matthew 17:18). The Lord was not soft with demons. He spoke sternly, with authority, and with a strong command, and as strange as it may sound, this is the same way He spoke to the wind and the waves. A remarkable thing happened when He spoke curtly to the wind and waves, the wind stopped blowing, and a complete calm came over the sea.


I can tell you, having been at sea for many years, that is not natural. A strong wind takes time to lessen its strength. I have never seen a complete calm come over the sea when the wind stops blowing. Even if it was of natural origin, waves cannot become calm in seconds. The swell of the waves carries on for some time after the wind dies down. The hardened fishermen in the boat had never seen phenomena like this. Luke tells us they were struck with fear and amazement (v. 25). If He can quiet the storms on the Sea of Galilee, He can also still the storms in your life.

Keith Thomas


This study is a shortened version of the more in-depth study found in the All Studies box on the Home Page. Click on The Gospel of Luke, then study 17, Jesus Meets the Legion Demon.