By Mark Ellis
When the wind and the waves threatened to swamp a boat filled with refugees fleeing the Middle East, Jesus made a dramatic appearance to them and calmed the waters, saving their lives.
The truly amazing account is from Erick Schenkel, executive director of the Jesus Film Project.
“A group of refugees fleeing the fighting in the Middle East were jammed into several pontoon boats. They were trying to make it across the Aegean Sea to Greece,” Schenkel recounts.
The seas were extremely rough and dangerous and some of the boats in this small armada capsized.
The report is reminiscent of a similar storm on the Sea of Galilee described in the Gospel accounts, when “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.” (Matthew 4:37)
The refugees were afraid, just as Jesus’ fellow travelers were frightened.
“But the people in one boat cried out to God. Suddenly, a ‘shining heavenly figure’ appeared in the boat,” Schenkel reports. “The entire boat knew it was Jesus.”
Then something miraculous happened. Jesus calmed the storm!
“From that point the sea became calm and peaceful, and they finally landed safely on shore.”
In the biblical account, Jesus “rebuked the winds and the waves and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’”
The present-day refugees were so convinced that the heavenly figure was truly God, they all wanted to become followers of Jesus, according to the report.
Many weeks later, the refugees were meeting together in a discipleship group, sharing the remarkable story with their Bible teacher—a former jihadist who is now a Christian.
“By the thousands, Iraqi and Syrian refugee families who have survived their trek over land and sea must now spend their nights in abandoned buildings, store fronts, garages, open spaces or tents. In camps without electricity, they often sit in darkness,” Schenkel reports.
The Jesus Film Project is currently distributing solar-powered “Light Their World” LED lamps throughout the refugee camps. The lamps include a built-in audio player and speaker with 200 hours of audio memory containing the “JESUS” film.
“A worker didn’t have time to explain to a refugee that there was an audio player contained in the lamp. The next day, the refugee told the worker with joy, ‘You didn’t just give me light, you gave me The Light of the World!’ That worker said the need is huge and growing, that they could use 50,000 lamps for refugees right now.”
For more about the Jesus Film Project’s work with refugees, go here