Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples. Among them, Jesus chose twelve of them to be apostles. The twelve followed Jesus, while hearing and learning from Jesus, although they did not know about anything being Jesus’ disciples. For example, Jesus called out Peter and Andrew, and said “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Yes, they immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind, but they did not understand what really means “becoming fishers of men,”, and especially what would take to be fishers of men. To the twelve called by Jesus, one thing was common: initially, they impressed by Jesus’ teaching on mountain:
Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
“Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. (Luke 8:25a)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3-10)
Jesus’ teaching comforted their hearts, and the young twelve disciples were attracted to Jesus.
After this, Jesus talked about faith, and asked them build their faith on the solid ground of Jesus. Jesus gave a parable: “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Tough the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” All of the disciples nodded.
Jesus took the twelve disciples wherever He went. Jesus also healed the sick and showed miracles. Their faiths were growing steadily while being with Jesus. Jesus’ primary focus was to make them have a strong faith built on a solid rock of Jesus, which could not be swayed by anything on earth.
He revealed the secret of truth about a faith by telling easy-to-remember parables – the parable of the sower, who scatters seeds. Some falls on along the path, on rocky places, among thorns, and on good soil. The last seed grows up and produces a crop thirty, sixty or even hundred times. Like the seed landed on a good soil, a faith in a believing heart multiplies. The parable of a lamp on a stand. Nobody puts a lamp under a stand, but on a stand so that people can see. Like a lamp, a real faith cannot be hidden, but plainly seen by people. The parable of the mustard seed, which is the smallest among all seeds, but it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that birds can perch in its a shade.
Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the followers as much as they could understand. In fact, in His public ministry he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when He was alone with His disciples, He explained everything to them. Jesus really cared for His twelve disciples.
As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.
Surprisingly, in the storm, Jesus was sleeping. Initially, the disciples did not want to wake up Jesus, and they did their best to fight against the storm. Among the twelve, Peter and Andrew were skillful fishermen who spent all their lives in the same water. They knew everything about the Sea of Galilee. They met similar storms before, and they were able to manage a couple of storms. Then, they became very confident how to deal with those storms in the Sea of Galilee. However, the night was different. All of their knowledge, experiences and skills were of no use. The harder they tried, the worse the situation was. Finally, the water was coming into the boat.
Suddenly, they remembered Jesus who was sleeping. They ran into Jesus because all of their options were exhausted. They were helpless. When they saw Jesus, they could not believe. Jesus was calmly sleeping with his head on a cushion under the storm. Even so, they had to wake Him up. They shouted, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” (How do you think? Really did Jesus not care about them who were struggling in the storm?)
When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all were calm. Then Jesus asked them, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25a)
How about us? Where is our faith? Because we see and touch miracles or good things (to us), do we believe? If so, our faith is in fact not in us, but it is attached to the things that we see and touch. Or do we intellectually know of the faith, which is something greater than anything that we know. It is great to know something beyond us. However, when a life storm hits us, can our intellectual understanding of a faith save us? No. Such a faith coexists with us in our brain, not in our heart. A true faith is not a knowledge nor an external evidence that we can see and touch. It resides in our heart. It grows like a seed falling on a good soil, and multiplies. Even during a storm, like Jesus, if we have a solid faith in Jesus, we can be calm. Why? We are in the hand of the mighty God, who is our ever-loving Father. Our loving God, who did not spare his own Son, will surely stretch His mighty hand and hold tight even while we are going through our life storm.
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)