It’s not like they weren’t used to being in boats.
And it wasn’t uncommon for a storm to kick up while they were in those boats.
So what’s the big deal?
Luke 8:22-25 captures a story in which Jesus invited his disciples to get into a boat and go over to the other side of the lake. Ultimately we read of them arriving in the land of the Gerasenes, where we read about Jesus restoring a demon-possessed man (8:26-39). Most likely the boat trip started in Capernaum and would have navigated out into the center of the Sea of Galilee.
I have personally been in a fishing boat in the middle of that very body of water, and have (jokingly) fell asleep on the boat as a reference to this passage of Scripture when Jesus fell asleep.
In my case, a slight wind (and some waves) picked up causing our touring team to wonder if we were going to experience something similar to that of the New Testament disciples. Thankfully it ended up being fairly mild…unlike what we read about in Luke 8. They were in a “squall.” They were “being swamped.” They were in “great danger.”
That may account for the fear and amazement the disciples felt. I know it would do the trick for me. I get seasick pretty easily. But that’s not the case here. Sure, the disciples did wake up Jesus with the wide-eyed declaration: “Master, we’re going to drown!” But these guys were sailors and fishermen that were undoubtedly familiar with boats and storms. So why were they “in fear and amazement?”
It didn’t have to do with what the storm was doing to them, but instead, what Jesus did to the storm. He rebuked it and it subsided. He commanded the winds and water, and those winds and waters obeyed him. Um, wow.
Storms can surely evoke an emotional response, but nothing will quite bring out the kind of fear and amazement that the disciples experienced like a storm stopping on a dime because someone told it to!
Talk about fear AND amazement.
There are times in our lives when we experience both fear and amazement at the exact same moment. Fear of the unknown. Fear of what we can’t control. Fear of failure and disappointment. AND also amazement at God’s hand of blessing. Amazement at his grace and wisdom. Amazement in the midst of the sheer sovereignty and majesty of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Fear AND amazement. Ah, the beautiful tension.
What if fear AND amazement were meant to be experienced together? Like a tandem bicycle, both peddle toward the same destination: the glory of God.