When evening had come, Jesus said to his disciples, "Let us go across to the other side." And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?" And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
Don’t rock the boat baby…
What does it mean to “go across to the other side?” When I read that phrase the first thing that comes to mind is dying… crossing over from life to death. But that’s my human mentality talking. Just like the disciples I am afraid to fully accept Jesus’ invitation to “go across to the other side “with him. I am afraid that along the way I will perish, that I will die.
But Jesus is not talking about crossing over from physical life to physical death. Jesus is talking about crossing over from fear to faith. The journey with Jesus is a journey of faith. That’s why he asked the panicked disciples, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” Just like me the disciples want to make the journey with Jesus, but when things come along to rock our boats we imagine we have been abandoned and accuse God of not caring. Oh we of little faith.
How is it that Jesus commands peace and stillness when he finds himself in the middle of a raging storm? After all, Jesus is a fully human person too. He’s as blown about by the wind and the waves as the next guy (and we all know where his story goes). But even a raging storm doesn’t disturb him. Jesus sleeps then stands in the midst of the storm and refuses to be upset or shaken. Now that is faith, faith big enough to make “even the wind and the sea obey him.” Nothing can steal his peace.
Jesus’ peace is not contingent on external circumstance. Perhaps that is why the passing of the Peace with the words, “The Peace of the Lord be always with you,” has been part of the Jesus movement from the very beginning. God knows that we will face wind storms and dust storms and unexpected trauma on our journey from fear to faith. And Jesus shows us the way of faith, looking straight into the eye of our personal storms and commanding, “Peace, be still.”