In a previous post (link to previous post), we discussed the fact that Jesus’ miracle of walking on the water is one proof of his divinity. Another proof of Jesus’ divinity is Jesus’ ability to control the weather and especially the storms at sea.
And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.
Notice that here the disciples do not seem to understand fully that Jesus is God. They do recognize, however, that Jesus is no ordinary man. Commanding the seas and the waters is something uniquely divine.
Proverbs 8:29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
Perhaps someone will object that control of the weather was also done by Elijah. You will recall that Elijah prayed and it did not rain and Elijah prayed again and it rained.
Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
As it was reported in the first book of Kings:
1 Kings 17:1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
1 Kings 18:41-46
And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not. And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
But recall that while the rain came in answer to Elijah’s prayer, it was not because of any power in Elijah. Elijah did not command the rain, but God did. In the former case, Elijah simply brought the Word of the Lord. In the latter case, as God had revealed beforehand, God already planned to bring the rain:
1 Kings 18:1 And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.
As an aside, we should note that these facts also reveal that God’s gift of rain was not the result of merit on Elijah’s part, contrary to the cavils of the papists. Indeed, this principle of rain being withheld as a punishment and then restored in response to repentance was previously announced in the prophetic prayer of Solomon. Notice that here rain is offered to sinners who repent and confess their sin to God, as a sign of God’s forgiveness.
1 Kings 8:35-36
When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them: then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance.
2 Chronicles 6:26-27
When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them; then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance.
In view of the above, we can see the difference between God who commands the stormy waters to be calm, as opposed to men who can merely pray to God that it be so. WE have seen this both from Proverbs and from the response of the disciples, and we have responded to a possible objection regarding Elijah. Nevertheless, it is not only Proverbs and the reaction of the disciples that we may rely on, nor even the careful distinction from Elijah. We have the word of the Psalmist who teaches us that this is the Lord’s doing:
They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.
And you will recall that the Lord exercised this power in the case of Jonah:
Jonah 1:4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
And when the men who were transporting Jonah saw that this was from the LORD they did as Jonah the prophet said (and who would be such a fool as to imagine that Jonah himself stirred up this storm?) and threw Jonah into the waves, God calmed the waters:
Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.
From this we see another proof of Jesus divinity. Jesus is not only the water-walking God, but also the water-calming God.
Praise be to him in whose hand are the deep places of the earth and the strength of hills is his!