17th May 2015

Jesus Calms The Storm

By Richard Ainsworth

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35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
41 They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"
New International Version (NIV)

I would like to share a lesson that we have done at B & B. While I miss the ministry of church I do often feel that the lessons I prepare for B & B speak to me as much as they are for the children. We made paper boats and used these to tell the story.

  • Jesus and the disciples leave the crowds behind and set off in a boat.
  • Jesus was asleep in the stern v38 Even the son of God felt weariness!!
  • A storm arises. A furious squall. The waves break over the boat. It is nearly swamped V 37
  • The situation is at crisis point. The disciples believe they are on the point of being drowned. Experienced fishermen most of them, but this is beyond what they can deal with.
  • They do the most sensible thing they can think of - they panic.
  • They wake up the Lord - to tell them he doesn't care about them because they are all going to drown. V38
  • Then Jesus (son of the most high and through whom all things were created, does the most unexpected thing. He gets up and rebukes the wind and told the waves to be still - and it was. V39
  • Are the disciples grateful? Well they are more terrified than anything. Seemingly more terrified than when they thought they were going to die. Because they realised just who this Jesus was who they had been following this past year or so. The son of God who could change the laws of nature and make the wind and waves obey him.
  • And Jesus seemingly a little harshly tells them off for not having enough faith.

  • I believe that Jesus wanted the disciples to learn from the experience. I believe they did. And I believe that God wants us too to learn and be built up in our relationship with the saviour we love.

    When Jesus said 'Let us go over to the other side.' I think he knew exactly what was going to happen. He is the all knowing omniscient God. The Alpha and Omega. Jesus knew that the disciples would be overtaken by this frightening storm.

    I find it a great comfort to know that whatever happens in my life, it is in the plan of God. He has said 'I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you.' God is never taken by surprise.

    Knowing what was about to happen, Jesus is happy to fall asleep in the boat. Yes, there is the human side of Jesus on display. He got weary as we do. When the furious storm overtook the boat the disciples who were experienced men of the water for the most part would have done all they could. All their skills and experience of the knowledge of the sea would have come into play. And yet the boat was beginning to fill up with water to the point of being overwhelmed. Doesn't that ring so true to us today in the storms of life that overtake us today. We do all we can using our skills and resources and yet we are so often still overwhelmed. It was right for the disciples to use all their skills and experience to save themselves and it is right for us today. But perhaps we try to continue in our own strength when we need to trust in God's strength.

    The disciples were following Jesus, doing as he had said yet they still ended up in great trouble.

    Let there be no doubt. Even though we are Christians we will see troubles. Jesus said in John16 v 33 'In this world you will have troubles.' James 1 v 12 says 'Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life.'

    In v 38 The disciples react in such a human way. The way I might well have reacted. The way I can sometimes feel in my spiritual life when things are difficult. They wake Jesus and say 'don't you care if we drown?!'

    I can imagine this conversation not being in polite measured tones. More panic and shouting. What a thing to say about Jesus. 'Don't you care about us?' Of course we know he cares for you all. I there is one thing I want you to remember from this morning, that is it. He cares about you. When he miraculously fed the 5000 he had compassion on the people. He healed people who came to him just because they asked. If there was one thing you could say about Jesus it was that he showed he cared.

    1 Peter 5 v 7 says cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.

    Why did the disciples think that he didn't care after all they had seen and known of Jesus. I think it was that while things were getting worse and out of hand Jesus remained asleep. Nothing was happening to help them.

    Do we ever feel like that when difficulties happen or prayers don't get answered as we would like? Like the disciples, we don't understand why things happen as they do, as the Lord shapes and models us through our life experience, but he does care for us.

    Jesus answers their desperate pleadings. But not in the way they were expected. And that is how it is with us today. He is in charge. He will do things. Not always as we expect. Sometimes obviously far more wonderfully than we could ever expect. But always with the wisdom of what is best and right for us. That is why he taught in the Lord's prayer for us to say 'Your kingdom come, your will be done.'

    I think the disciples awoke Jesus because he was their leader. He was not a fisherman and taught in the ways of the sea as many of them were. But somehow they believed he would know what to do. He would somehow give the right orders and they would be safe. Judging by their reactions they clearly were not expecting Jesus to tell the wind and the waves to be still.

    The disciples were astonished by what Jesus did. They had been frightened by the storm, now they were terrified by this revelation of who Jesus really is. Their understanding of Jesus went as far as seeing him as a great teacher and prophet who did healings and miracles, but controlling the forces of nature. That was another thing. They simply did not appreciate the awesomeness of jesus. And I wonder if I am the same. Do I in my inmost being fully appreciate the wonder of who Jesus is. Through whom the universe was made in, and is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being in Hebrews 1 v 2.

    I am not sure that I do. I think I need the spirit's work in my heart to fully take this in.

    Jesus says 'Why are you so afraid. Do you still have no faith?

    They were afraid when they did not need to be. Jesus was in the boat. They were never going to drown. We know God's plan of salvation so the boat was not going to sink. To be fair the disciples did not know that. But they had seen good enough miracles to know that Jesus would not let them dome to any harm. They had seen countless people healed, wine made into water, people raised from the dead. They should have known that they could trust in Jesus to keep them safe.

    We too, so often act in fear, not faith. Jesus will not let us perish. He is in the boat with us if we have made him our saviour and asked him into our life. But do I act in fear or faith?

    Jesus specifically commands us 'do not worry, who by worrying can add another hour to his life?'

    Again, when my mindset is fear, do I grieve him by doubting him?

    It was also a good job for the disciples that they had Jesus in the boat with them. If Jesus had not been on board they really would have been in trouble. They probably would have drowned. How many here today can say, yes, I have been through the storms. I am going through the storms. But if I did not have Jesus in my life, I think I would have gone down by now.

    I wonder if the disciples overestimated the power of the squall. It was terrifying at the time, but next to the revealed power of God it was nothing. Sometimes we need to get the long view of the trials and testings that we are going through. It may be hard and frightening now, but we will be able to look back on our experience and see how the Lord has led through it all and kept us safe.

    Toddlers on Friday learned this verse:

    Isaiah 41 v 10
    So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

    Isaiah 43 gives us a great encouragement from the Lord:
    "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
    2 When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
    and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
    When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
    3 For I am the LORD your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour;