Bible Lessons for the Little Ones

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
(Read Matt. 8:23-2823And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. 24And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 25And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. 26And 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. 27But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him! 28And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. (Matthew 8:23‑28); Mark 4:35-4135And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? (Mark 4:35‑41); Luke 8:22-2622Now 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. 23But 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. 24And 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. 25And 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. 26And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. (Luke 8:22‑26).)
IT was in the city of Capernaum, which you can find in the map on the western shore of the sea of Galilee, that the Lord Jesus had done so many gracious works of power during that day of which we were reading a little while ago. You remember how He healed the beloved servant of the Roman captain by His word, without seeing or touching him, and how, when He came into Peter's house, where his wife's mother lay very ill, He touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then I am sure you have not forgotten what happened at sunset on that day, when so many sick people, and people over whom Satan had gained dreadful power, were brought to the Lord, and healed every one.
We cannot wonder that all the people ran together, and crowded round to see such wonderful things. When the Lord saw the great crowd, He told His disciples that He would like to pass over to the other side of the lake; so they took Him, just as He was, in the ship. We do not know what boat this was; but there was a little ship in which the Lord and His disciples had before crossed the water, and in which Jesus had sat while He taught the crowds of people who stood on the shore listening to Him. Other little ships were with this one, as they set out on their voyage, but they may have parted company during the night, for we only hear of the one in which Jesus and His disciples were going across the lake.
Have you ever been out in a small boat when the waves have been rising all round her, and the boat, which seemed so strong and safe while it was calm, tossing like a cork, up and down, backwards and forwards, on the deep, deep sea? If you have, you will know a little how the disciples were tossed about that night, in their boat on the lake of Galilee.
When they pushed off from the shore perhaps the lovely light of the sunset was still falling upon the water, and the little waves were murmuring softly as the boat glided through them. But, as night came on, all was changed. Storms come very suddenly upon that lake. The winds gather among the mountains, and then sweep down and make the water, which had been before so gentle, rise in angry waves. So it was on this night. There came down a storm of wind on the lake; the boat was covered with the waves, and they leaped up the sides, and beat into it, until it was filled with water. Would not you have been afraid if you had been there? I am sure you would, for strong men that night were trembling and crying out for fear. You know the verse which says—
"And all but One were sore afraid
Of sinking in the deep—
His head was on a pillow laid,
And He was fast asleep.”
You know that that One who slept a quiet sleep while the wind and water raged around Him was the Lord Jesus, the One who had made them, and was their Lord. A little while before, He had said to a man who wished to come with Him, "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man path not where to lay His head," and now that head, so often weary, was laid down upon the cushion of the boat, and Jesus slept.
The disciples used often to ask the Lord to help them, and so now that they were, as they thought, in such danger, they turned to Him at once, and, with a cry they awoke Him, saying, "Lord, save us: we perish." And again they cried in their fear, "Master, Master! carest thou not that we perish?”
I once knew a little boy of nine years old, who was surprised that the disciples should have been in such fear, and should have thought they were perishing. When he was reading about it, he stopped and looked up, and said, wonderingly, "But their boat couldn't sink with Him in it." That was true, and it is a beautiful thing to know that we never can be anything but safe with the Lord Jesus. With Him in the boat, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, and the rest were just as safe in that night of storm as they were after the angry waters had sunk to rest, hushed to stillness by His word.
I want you to notice those three words which Christ spoke to the sea. He rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, "Peace; be still!" Just the very moment when He spoke those words, a wonderful change came. The wind did not blow less loudly, and the sea grow a little quieter, as it does when we say that the tempest is over; but the wind ceased, and there was a great calm, and all at once, in perfect quiet, the little boat lay at rest upon the lake. All the tossing was over, and all the fear of perishing was taken from the hearts of the disciples. After a storm is quite over, it is a long time, sometimes more than a day and night, before the water is quiet again, but this storm changed into a great calm at once.
The Lord Jesus was sorry that the disciples whom He loved so much, and who had been with Him all the day before seeing His wonderful works, had not understood yet that they might trust Him. While they looked at one another and said, "What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" and while the sight of His power filled them with fear, He said to them, “Why are ye fearful, ye of little faith?” He did not say they had no faith, for He knew where to find, deep in their hearts, that faith in Him which God had given them, and so He asked them again," Where is your faith? "The Lord may often ask the same question now to those whom He has taught to trust Him, but who, when some great storm of trouble comes, forget that He is with them in the storm and darkness, and cry out for fear, instead of waiting until He rises to say," Peace; be still!”