More than a storm in a tea cup- Tuesday, 13th week in ordinary time- Matthew 8: 23-27
I certainly know what my reaction would be if I was in a first century fishing boat out on the sea of Galilee (also called sea of Gennesaret or Tiberius). Just the thought of the sea, twenty-one kilometres long, thirteen kilometres wide with a depth of seven hundred feet below sea level leaves me in a panic, and that too with a reputation of sudden storms triggered by the funnelling of wind that could capsize a boat. But fear would be my justifiable reaction for I am neither a fisherman nor a lover of the sea.
This storm must have been a nasty one, for the disciples who were fishermen themselves, were terrified. Surely they had seen enough of Lake Gennesaret’s boisterous displays of storms to know that this one was different. So what really got the jitters into them? Was it as some scholars suggest, the fear of Leviathan and Behemoth, the sea monsters who resided there and who were believed to have had the ability to destroy creation? In any case the situation warranted more than a gentle ‘Lord wake up’.
Matthew presents Jesus as being unfazed by this Gennesaret storm. In fact He seems a bit perplexed by their reaction. He is in the boat; they should have been smiling at the storm. This is the point that St Matthew perhaps had in mind when he was writing the Gospel in about 70 AD.