Jesus Calms the Storm
Overview of the Workshops:
Cooking: Children will make and eat Stormy Pudding snacks.
Art: Children will create Jesus stormy shaker jars - based on an activity described by Neil MacQueen, posted in the art ideas - you'll find it here.
Games: Children will play several review games.
Drama: Children will act out the story.
Movie: Watch a clip from Matthew (Visual Bible) and then watch "Twister and Shout,” McGee and Me video series.
NIV Adventure Bible - Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, Luke 8:22-25,
The Picture Bible - “Mad Man by the Sea” page 592-594, “Jesus, A miracle Worker” page 599
“When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” Psalm 56:3
We can trust that Jesus is with us always and helps us in times of trouble.
- Children will find the story in the Bible.
- Children will be able to retell the story in their own words.
- Children will locate the Sea of Galilee on the map.
- Children will define miracle.
- Children will explore the concept of “storms” in their lives and how God can calm them.
- Children will explore the idea of trusting God even when times are hard.
- Children will recognize that Jesus is present with us always, even in difficult times and is able to help us.
- Children will memorize Psalm 56:3.
“When I am Afraid,” Verse 2 Verse, Power Disc 6: Summer Psalm Celebration, Wonder Workshop, 2003.
“Sometimes He Calms the Storm,” Wild Imagination, Scott Krippayne, 1995.
“Don’t Worry, Trust Jesus,” RPM Vol. 3, One Way Street, 1999.
“You, Oh Lord,” Treasure Seekers Island Adventure, Gospel Light, 2003.
“Call Upon Me,” Treasure Seekers Island Adventure, Gospel Light, 2003.
“Do Not Be Afraid,” God Feeds Us, Lost and Found, Firelight, Augsburg Fortress, 2001.
“Hold Me Jesus,” Liturgy, Legacy & Ragamuffin Band, Rich Mullins, 1993.
Extra Resources: Through the eyes of Jesus, by Mack Thomas, (goldNHoney Books, 1995, Questar Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-88070-803-4 (great pictures of Jesus calming the storm, “Safe in the Storm)
Each of the gospels contains accounts of Jesus’ miracles. The story of Jesus calming the storm takes place in all three synoptic gospels. (Matthew, Mark, Luke – synoptic means “seen alongside.” These gospels tell the stories of Jesus from each writer’s perspective) Mark’s gospel contains more miracle accounts than any of the other synoptic gospels. What exactly is a miracle? A miracle is defined as a supernatural event, superceding the natural processes of the world. God breaks into the natural order of things, disrupts the predictable and draws attention to Himself. Miracles reveal the characteristics of God.
The Bible contains six different types of miracles:
- miracles of healing of diseases or physical problems (blindness, lameness, etc.)
- miracles over nature (storms, withered fig tree, etc.)
- miracles over objects (feeding 5000, water into wine, etc.)
- miracles over death (raising Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter, resurrection, etc.)
- miracles over evil spirits (healing demoniac, etc.)
- forgiving sins (this probably got Jesus into more trouble than any other miracles)
Miracles challenge our rational minds. We think…”This couldn’t really have happened! t is impossible!” Or we try to explain away the miracle through scientific and rational thinking. “Surely there must be a scientific explanation for what happened.” The people of Jesus’ day did not doubt the authenticity of the miracles. They saw the results of Jesus’ actions first hand. They saw the lame walking, the blind seeing, the deaf hearing. They did not doubt that the miracle had occurred. The issue for them was to determine the source of the power. This was one of the arguments the Pharisees consistently had with Jesus. What was the source of his power? Was it truly from God? Or from evil spirits and Satan?
At the time of Jesus, so-called miracles were fairly common. Conjurers and magicians traveled about the New Testament world creating a stir with their actions. Jesus always attributed his miraculous powers to the authority of God the Father. Jesus wanted his healings and other miraculous acts to be seen not as magic, but as a call to repentance and faith. He wanted his actions to be differentiated from the flashy forgery that was prevalent in the world. The fact that the New Testament writers included the accounts of Jesus’ miracles is convincing evidence that they did indeed occur. Otherwise the writers would have downplayed or left out these stories in order to avoid the risk of Jesus being seen as just another wandering charlatan magician.
Why does God use miracles? Through miracles, God breaks through human and natural barriers and reaches people, showing his deep concern, love and empathy. Jesus performed miracles because they were part of his calling to do the unexpected and to reveal the nature, power and authority of God. The miraculous events themselves are important. But just as important are the consequences of the miracles and what the miracles taught the people involved and what they continue to teach us today. Perhaps the most important question the miracle stories force us to ask is the question Jesus asked of his followers, “Who do you say I am?”
In the miracle of Jesus calming the storm, we see Jesus’ authority over nature. In Greek, the word for authority is exousia. It is often translated power – meaning freedom of action. One with authority has greater freedom to act than one who is under another’s authority. In the New Testament we see Jesus as the One who has complete authority!
Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee is actually a heart-shaped lake about 14 miles long and six miles across. It is located in the province of Galilee about 60 miles northeast of Jerusalem and 27 miles east of the Mediterranean Sea. The river Jordan enters at its northern end and passes out at its southern end. The water of the lake is quite deep, sweet, cool and transparent and the beach is full of sparkling pebbles. The sea is full of fish, even today, just as it was during Jesus’ lifetime.
The Sea of Galilee is sometimes called the Sea of Tiberias (named for the city on its shore) or the Lake of Gennesaret (named for the beautiful fertile plain located to the northwest. In the Old Testament it was referred to as the Sea of Chinnereth. Jesus spent most of his public life and ministry near this sea. The surrounding region was then the most densely populated in all Palestine. Nine very populous cities stood on the very shores of the lake. The Sea of Galilee was a very active center of life during this time.
Situated in a basin surrounded by a wall of mountains, the Sea of Galilee is particularly susceptible to frequent, sudden, violent storms. Cool air from the Mediterranean is drawn down through the narrow mountain passes and clashes with the hot, humid air lying over the lake. The Lake was notorious for its storms. They literally came out of the blue with shattering and terrifying suddenness, often when the sky was perfectly clear.
The recounting of the calming of the storm in Mark is the first of Jesus’ “nature” miracles recorded and follows accounts of Jesus healing and driving out demons. Added to Jesus’ authority over disease and death is his control of the physical elements of the universe. “He commands even wind and water and they obey him.”
After spending all day teaching the multitudes, Jesus asks his disciples to take him to the other side of the lake. But Jesus is tired and quickly falls asleep on the cushion in the stern of the boat . . . obviously worn out from a long day of teaching. Despite the sudden storm, Jesus sleeps undisturbed, indicative of quiet trust even in the midst of terrifying circumstances. But the disciples interpret his sleeping as indifference and wake him, reproaching him with the question, “Do you not care if we perish?” Their question indicates their own lack of trust and faith. Jesus first acts . . . rebuking the wind, “Peace! Be still!” then chides the disciples for their lack of faith. Even though the disciples are constantly with Jesus, witnessing his healings and exorcisms, hearing his teachings, they still lack faith and trust in Jesus’ saving powers. The disciples’ question, “Who is this?” is the question posed by the Gospel as a whole. The disciples are filled with awe as they begin to understand the divine nature of Jesus. This is no mere human being; Jesus has God’s power to still the storm. Later, when in a similar story, Jesus walks on water, we see the progression of the disciples’ understanding of who Jesus is – the Christ, the Son of God with complete authority!
Other interesting notes:
Given the fact that at least four of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen, and must have experienced similar storms before (the storms were frequent events on the Sea of Galilee), their terror indicates the severity of the storm.
When the disciples realized the presence of Jesus with them, the storm became calm and a fearless peace entered their hearts. To voyage with Jesus is to travel in peace even in the midst of a storm. This is a universal truth – as true today as it was in the first century. “In the presence of Jesus we can have peace even in the wildest storms of life.”
- Jesus Christ – Miracles, John P. Gilbert, Graded Press, 1985; Cokesbury Basic Bible Commentary – Matthrew, Mark and Luke, Norman P. Madsen, Graded Press, 1988; The Bible Teacher’s Commentary, Lawrence O. Richards, Cook Communications Ministries, 2002.
Lesson set created by State Street UMC - G.R.E.A.T. Adventure Dream Team, 2002 (revised 2007)
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