On that day, when evening had come, Jesus said to his disciples, "Let us go across to the other side." And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care if we perish?" And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?" And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?"
- St. Mark 4:35-41
In this passage from St. Mark’s Gospel we see Jesus and His disciples being caught out on the Sea of Galilee when a storm came up. The disciples were fearful that they would drown. Although Jesus was sleeping, when they woke Him He rose up and commanded the wind and sea, and an immediate calm came.
What should we make of this scene? Did it really happen? Did the wind die down and the sea become calm simply at the word of Jesus? Yes. If we were there, that's what we would have experienced.
But there’s a further meaning in this account. When the Gospel writers speak of a boat, often they are also referring to the Church. In fact, this is one of the titles of the Church – the Barque, or Boat, of Peter - referring to the Catholic Church founded by Christ Himself.
And as the little boat referred to in the Gospel was being beaten by the storm and the waves, so the Church even today is being pounded by external forces and weakened by a few corrupt leaders. The Church, the Barque of Peter, is sailing in perilous waters. Like the disciples, there are many who are fearful. There are those who are tempted to believe that God has abandoned His people, and that because of our sins He has turned His back on us.
Yet we know that cannot be true. Though the gates of hell seem to stand against us, they cannot prevail. Our Lord promised it. Look back through the centuries at the number of times God’s promise has been fulfilled. And just as the disciples wondered, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him,” so we know exactly what sort of man our Saviour Christ is: He is God Incarnate, in complete control, and even though the storms around us seem very great, we need have no fear at all. At Christ’s Word, everything will be made calm.