Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

Christ Stilling the Storm

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Stu Sherard (Guest preacher)

The text is in is, in the gospel ofMark Chapter, four versus thirty five through forty one mark chapter, four versus thirty, five through forty one. This is God's word for us this morning.So let's pay heed to it. On that day, when evening had come, hesaid to them. Let us go across to the other side and leaving the crowd. They took himwith them in the boat, just as he was, and other boats were with him and a great wind storm arose and thewaves were broke were breaking 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 himteacher: Do you not care that we are perishing and he awoke and rebuked to win andsaid to the sea? Peace be still and the wind ceased and there was agreat calm and he said to them. Why are you soafraid? Have you still no faith and they were filled with great fearand said to one another? Who, then, is this that even wind and sea obey him? Please pray with me. Father this is your word. You caused itto be written every word of it. It is your word everyjot, every tittle. We thank you for this beautiful story of Christ stilling thetempest which tells us that there that there isa theology of Christians in suffering and trials that we are to remember andnot to ever forget so give us wisdom and discernment thismorning to learn and apply this important lesson in our faith and weask it for Jesus Sake. I'm in please be seed. You know, you think you know Jesus. You have a relationship with him. He'syour saviour he's! Your Lord he's. Your friendyou've talked to him. You commune with him. He comforts youwhen you're sad. He provides for you when you're in need. He reassures you when you doubt he's always there when you call uponhim, he meets your needs, he does what's best for you and then something happens. So everything starts to unravel. You lose your job. You lose a loved one. You get sick,...

...there's conflict in the church. Your family is in disarray, your dreamsand your aspirations come crashing down around your ears. You don't get thatpromotion and you think Jesus this isn't whatyou're supposed to do. This isn't the way things are supposedto be Jesus. Don't you care you find yourself in a storm. I know some of you this morning are ina storm. Maybe most of you, you know this week has been a storm.Nothing about this week makes any sense. Do you know John Newton's prayer, aprayer answered by crosses the prayer of that old slave traderturned past. Her goes like this. He says, and I quote, I asked the Lordthat I might grow in faith and love and every grace might more of his salvation know andseek more earnestly his face TWAS. He who taught me thus to pray, and he I trust, has answered prayer,but it has been in such a way as almost drove me to despair. I hope that insome favorite hour, at once, he'd answer my request and by his love's constraining powersubdue my sins and give me rest instead of this, he made me feel the hidden evils of myheart and let the angry powers of Hellassault, my soul in every part, yea more. With his own hand, he seemedintent to aggravate my woe crossed all the fair designs. I schemedd blasted mygourds and laid me low lord. Why is this? I trembling criedWilt Thou pit pursue thy worm to death Tis in this way, the Lord replied. Ianswer prayer for grace and faith. These inward trowls I employ from selfand pride to set thee free and break thy schemes of earthly joy that Thou mayst seek thy all in me. You know, if you don't know this poemof John Newton's, it's also a hymn: Google. It now get it on the web. Prent it out.Stick it in your bibles. I'm telling you it will help you through many atrial. It will help you through many a storm. You see that's what this story of cry.Stilling the storm is all about it's about life's trials and how we askChristians should deal with those...

...trials. So as we begin this morning, let mejust make a few general comments about this text. You know each of the three SynopticGospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke includes this account of Jesus stilling,the storm. It's an important miracle, not least because I think it recollectsto us the power of God displayed over nature in some of the great miracles ofthe Old Testament, for example the parting of the waters of the Red Sea. It provides another demonstration thatmark gives us of the identity of Jesus with Yawa of the Old Testament. Itdemonstrates that Jesus is God he can control the weather. He can controlnature. It's also interesting. I think that this little account is vivid withmany eye witness details. The first one is in verse. Thirty six, you know we see this curious detailthat that they took Jesus along, just as he was, which apparently means that Jesus wastaken directly from the boat from which he had been teaching the crowds alongthe lake shore without returning him to the shore and that's something that an eyewitness would remember, but no one else, I think, would would think to add a similar detail not picked up again inthe account is that there were other boats with them as they began theircrossing of the sea. You know we're left to wonder whathappened to these. These other boats in the storm, but mark says nothing aboutthem. It's an eye. Witness detail, then there's that strange little detailhere that Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat on a cushion again, it's aneye witness detail. Now I mentioned all this because these sorts of details- theydon't even advance the plot here they don't develop any of thecharacters. They're basically irrelevant they're unnecessary to theflow of the story, and I think that's what gives this story the marks ofsomething that actually happened and its being reported by some one whowas actually there. In other words, we can know that this story, which is allabout the power of Jesus, really happened. It's a true story, in other words, also in calm weather, a journey across the Sea of Galileedepending upon one's destination along the fire shore,would probably taken an hour or two, but this this lake is notorious for sudden and severe squalls.

Now the surface of the Sea of Galileeis about seven hundred feet below sea level and on several sides. It'sbordered by steep hills, including the Golan Heights. Now what happens is the interchangebetween cooler, air from the heights and the warmer air coming up from thesurface of the lake creates conditions in which these Wen sweep down theravines and they whip up unusually large waves for a lake that particular size and that's what happened here. It says in verse, Thirty Eight, that Jesus is fast asleep, even in theuproar of this storm, which is a testimony. I think that he'sno doubt he is exhausted from his ministry. He has to get away from thecrowds by the way. This is the only passage in the gospels where we readthat the Lord is sleeping and the fact that the disciples who make theirliving on the waters of this lake were so afraid indicates the severity ofthis storm. It is a big one. You know this desperate and we mightthink disrespectful rebuke of Jesus by the disciples in verse. Thirty Eight, Ithink it's almost certainly of Rebatu recollection of what they said see. This is the way people speak when they're terrified. This word for rebuke in verse. Thirty,nine! It's the same word used earlier by mark when the Lord rebuked the evilspirits in people. You know the Lord speaks to this lake, as if it were anunruly heckler. I think a good paraphrase of what hesaid is quiet shut up now, whether evil, spirits or forces ofnature, they're all subject to his command, but power over nature. Even more starkly, I think, revealsJesus Divine Authority. You know there are remarkable parallels between thisverse and some hundred o seven, but there the one who stills the stormin some hundred and seven is Yawa. Now on verse, Forty One, the presence of the supernatural terrifies the disciples just as an evenmore than the storm had now. Even the prospect of their own death was not as discomfiting to them as thepresence of God, and so, as this text ends were left with the question in the midst of this storm, will these men...

...put their faith, put their trust inJesus? How should they respond to this serious trial that their experiencing? So let's get into the boat with Jesusand these disciples and see what we can learn? You know this story. This historicalnarrative in the first place is a revelation of Jesus himself. It's ademonstration of his divine authority. It's a demonstration of his power overthe forces of nature, and that's really important for us to see that. But this story is much much more thanthat. I think it's entirely proper to treat this passage as a lesson forus regarding the trials of our lives, the sorrows, the fears and confusion which we have to endurein this world. You know Jesus asked his disciples immediately after calming the lake,have you still no faith, so Jesus is interested not only in thefacts about himself but he's interested in the implicationof those facts for us his disciples. So the Lord turns thismiracle into an important lesson about my faith and your faith in trial in tribulation, in frustrationand fear in the storms of life. You know, what's our faith, going to looklike when things suddenly go south and we find ourselves in a situation.These disciples found themselves in you know, I think, if there is a singleand simple lesson to be learned from this narrative of the stilling of thestorm, its best captured by that old, AnglicanBishop, Bishop, J C Ryle, who put it this way Raoul, said sight sense and feelingmake even believers very poor, theologians sight, sense and feeling make even believers very poor,theologians and he went on. He says the size of the waves and the fury of thewind, the sight of the water accumulating in the bottom of the boatof the boat sinking deeper into the waters of the lake made. The disciplesforget almost everything they had already learned about. Jesus, not everything, for they at least knew enough to wakeup the Lord and cry out to him, but they did so after the manner of adesperate appeal to their last resort and in a spirit of despairing fear,master master were going to drown. You know sitting here dry and undistubed.

We may think very poorly of thedisciples. I think we might Mug smugly say whydidn't these guys put simply put two and two together: no the one who had miraculously healeda leper driven demons out of men, obviouslywasn't going to drown in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. You know why, in one ofthem just say not to worry less, you sit here and see what happens. We're not a single one of them thoughtthat not a single one of them said that, andfar too often you and I are just like them- just ice forgetful, just as mesmerize by the waves when our trials come. You know it'strue. Now we see the waves, we hear the wind, we sense the danger and our trouble consumes us in the sameway, and though, were Christians, weappealed to the Lord only as a kind of desperate afterthought. Why aren't youdoing something? Lord can't you see that that that I'm drownding here we can't hear our theology. We can't hear our Christology what weknow to be true about Christ. That can't be heard in our souls overthe moaning of the wind and the crashing of the waves andhere's the point. Here's the lesson there is a theologyfor Christians for you and me in suffering to beremembered and not forgotten, and I think that theology is clearlydepicted here and this account of Christ stilling the storm. You know one of the best definitions of personal faith that I've run intolately is this faith. Is Confidence in Christ as ableto act suitably to the occasion? Faith is confidence in Christ as ableto act suitably to the occasion- and I think that's true and at leastthree particular aspects, all of which are highlighted in this wonderfulaccount of the calming of the Storm First, the troubles which so much disturbedand distress. These disciples were the Lords doing. Look at verse. Thirty, five e: It was the Lord's idea to take a boat across the lake and wentPeter's idea when John's idea. It was the Lord's idea. Now they would neverhave been in this pickle. They would never have been on that lakethat night, but for the Lord's decision...

...that was the Lord's doing now. He was tired. He was exhausted. He had to get awayfrom the crowds, so it was the Lord's needs and theLord's purposes that had put the disciples in this difficulty. So, given that, what do you think theresponse of the disciple should have been well, let me suggest this, you know. Had the disciples had the faith, the size of a grain ofmustard seed which, by the way, Jesus had been taught had just taught thatearlier in the day, I think these disciples would have come to Jesus inthe boat and said not master master, we're going to drown, but let's justsit back and see how the Lord is going to dealwith this rather interesting situation, knowing that these troubles had beenordered for them by the Lord, no think now, if the Lord could still a great storm by merely rebuking the wind and thewaves, is it not obvious that he could have prevented the storm from rising inthe first place? No, he could have ordered up a glassy,smooth water. He could have ordered up a bit of a tail win if you find yourself in a storm, your merciful, Savour, has had a handin that faith knows it sight, does not sight, forgets that, and I think knowing this is a very large part of the hope andthe peace and the strength that we need in the storms of life. You know myexperience has been that it has been a large part of mydeliverance from various trows just to know thatthis is the Lord's plan. This is his purpose that it was hisplan for me to pass through these waters. Whatever that water was now, he who loves us with an everlasting love could have kept us from every one ofour trials. Every one of our heart breaks every one of our dangers that he has not, I think, is theclearest indication that he intends for us to face this trouble or that trouble dear one's nature is powerful, but a storm doesn't love you. A stormis indifferent to you, but God is all powerful when he is filled with an untamablelove for each of us. So I think that's one thing that we can get from this text. The troubles which so muchdisturb us are the Lord's doing. I think, second, the troubles which sofrightened the disciples posed no real...

...danger to them at all, with Christ present with them, as hewas now in the aftermath of this storm.It's clear what a blunder these disciples made andwhy they had nothing to say when the Lord effectively rebuked themfor their lack of faith. They had been terrified for their lives, while theMac Maker of heaven and earth lay a few feet away from them sleeping peacefully. Now these these guys didn't knoweverything about Jesus of Nazareth, but they knew enough by now that he was the Messiah they hadconsidered it the most sensible thing to leave their livelihoods to serve him.They had witnessed that witness all his miracles, all of his healings S,casting out of demons. Did they really think that God's plan for the worldwould come to an end? Because of some unforeseen accident Jesus drowning while crossing the Seaof Galilee, couldn't they see that no boat varying the son of God, the Saviour ofthe world, was going to sink. Couldn't they see that there was nosafer place in all this great universe and in that boat on the lake on thatnight? No, they couldn't see any of that, because, while the eyes of their bodieswere wide open and terror struck by the side of theways, the eyes of their souls, their faith were slam shut and we can fire. Too often. I think wejust like the disciples on the lake that night what we can see with our eyes and hearwith our ears often mesmerizes us. We forget that our saviour promised that he wouldnever leave us or forsake es and that he will be withus to the end of the world that he will always provide a way of escape from ourtests in our trials and that he knows how to deliver the godly from theirtroubles. God, forgive us that we can sometimes think and behaveas if our Lord Christ, our master and commander, were on the far side of theworld, unaware of our circumstances uncaringof our plight, instead of in the stern of the very boat in which were rowingthrough the store. Now what a difference it would havemade. If the disciples had exercised theirfaith that night on the lake, I tell you theywould have felt alive. No, it would have been vitality, notfear that it would have filled their...

...hearts. They would they would have felt, and I think they would have writtenhome saying what Winston Churchill told his mother from Cuba afterparticipating in a battle in eighteen. Ninety five church Ilk wrote, told hismother, you know there is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at andmissed dear once I don't know what stormsyou're rowing through this morning, I'm rolling through my own storms, but I do know, then, whatever your troubles andsorrows and dangerous may be. If you see the Lord at your side, if you seeheaven before your face, if you see the angels camped around you, if you seethat then suddenly, instead of fear and this creeping despair, you willdiscover that there is a certain exhilaration to being shot at andmissed. So I think that's that's. A secondthing know the troubles which so frighten USpose no real danger to us with Christ present with us as he is, and, finally, I think the troubles and dangers whichso disturbed and distressed these disciples were in fact they wereprimarily opportunities for Christ to manifest himself andreveal his glory among his people. Now you can't tell me then, when all this was over, you know when this lake was calm andthe wind was just a gentle Zef Zephyr, you know with the Adrenal and stillpumping through the veins from what they had just gone through.You can't tell me that even one of those disciples would rather havestayed behind and missed out on all that action, not on your life. You know what they had seen would staywith them, vivid in their memories. To strengthenand encourage them, they would take that experience with them to theirgraves. But don't you see no greatdemonstration of divine power coming a storm can be given without a storm tocome now these disciples would never haveseen what they saw had there not been waves and win for the saviour to rebuke. You know. Sam Samuel Rutherford oncewrote that the Lord he said, ties terrible nuts just to have the pleasureof loosening them off from those he loves. He lays nets and sets traps onlythat he may get a chance of healing, broken bones and setting the terrifiedfree and that marvelous. In that exhilarating, there was what a completely different wonderfully different way tolook at the troubles we face...

...to see them as opportunities for theLord to show himself to us, as our deliverer and savior and friend, an all powerful protector and and andthis isn't just some psychological ploy, some trick that we play on ourselveswhen we do that. Rather it's nothing more nor less thanthe practice of the truth. The playing out of true faith in all the disciples straining at the oars, all of their worry and fear, wasnothing but a setting of the stage for the Lord Christ to thrill them with hispower and glory to show them what a saviour and what issalvation they had got in the sun of God, and our troubles are the same. They'll have the same thrilling,exhilarating effect. If we practice faith in the midst ofstorms and see the Lord rising up to help us. Well, as I wrap this up, I want you to notice onemore thing: notice that the Lord doesn't simplyencourage us here. He actually rebukes us now, because I think of our moderntherapeutic way of dealing with people who failed or people who are in trouble.We might miss that in the Lord's words here, but he rebukes these men for the lack for their lack of faith.You know we might have thought that he would putan arm around Peter or John or maybe tussel James, wet here and hair and saywith a smile. You know come on guys. What do you think I am chopped liveryou guys, cracked me up you didn't have to worry is sorry. I didn't wake up sooner. Icould have stopped the storm before it got started, but he didn't say that didhe instead, he said. Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith or to putanother way after all, you've seen me do and heard me say: Do you stillunderstand nothing at all? You know we all need encouragement in many ways, and the Lord gives us that he gives usthat in abundance, but from time to time we also need to hear that our faithlessways, especially in the light of the Lord's many demonstrations of hisfaithfulness to us over the years of our lives, are inexcusable there, a sin. We must repent of those and put them todeath. You know there is no excuse for us notto understand that our troubles are no accident but have been brought to us by the Lordhimself that he is with us in and through Themm, and that we cannot sink...

...so long as he is there to save us andthat our trials are his opportunities to thrill us as he thrilled the disciples that longago night we need rebuke, and that rebuke, I think, is a powerfulencouragement in itself. You know, there's a young woman, I know she's amarvelous marvelous song writer. She attends a big, P C, a church inAtlanta, Georgia called parime, er, P ca. Her name is Laura Story. I don'tknow if any of you've heard of her about ten years ago, suddenly, out of the blue during a routine checkup, doctors founda brain tumor and her husband, it was pretty serious and they originallythought that it was an operable that he wasn't going to make it Laura and her husband were devastatedand they had the same questions exactly the same questions that these discipleshad you. Why, Lord? Why us? Lord? Don't you care about us? Are you asleep what's happening to us and that news started a long journeyfor this young couple, surgery, chemo ups and downs, good daysand bad days, and through it all Laura Story and her husband learned thelessons I think we find in this short narrative of Christ stilling the storm. Well, Laura's husband survived todaythey have two wonderful beautiful children. She wrote a song called blessings which I think expresses theirexperience of rowing against this brain tumor storm. It's a wonderful testimonywhich captures. I think the essence of the lessons of this biblical narrative and the lyrics go like this. We pray for blessings, we pray forpeace, comfort for family protection. While wesleep, we pray for healing for prosperity. We pray for your mighty hand to easeour suffering and all the while you hear each spoken need. You love USway too much to give us lesser things cause what if your blessings comethrough rain drops what, if your healing comes throughtears, what if a thousand sleepless nights arewhat it takes to know you're near what? If trials of this life are yourmercies in disguise, we pray for wisdom, Your Voice, to hear we cry in anger when we cannot feel younear, we doubt your goodness. We doubt yourlove as if every promise from your word...

...is not enough and all the while you hear each desperate plea and longthat we'd have faith to believe when friends betray us when darknessseems to win. We know that pain reminds this heart,that this is not. This is not our home, it's not our home, because what? If your blessings comethrough rain drops? What? If your healing comes through tears? What if athousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near what? If my greatest disappointments orthe aching of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy what, if trials of this life, the rain,the storms the hardest knights, are your mercies in disguise? Jesus calming the storms of our lives, Dere wines, the lords in the boat withus he's with you in your loneliness, he's with you in your worry, yes andyour worry about the future or your job he's with you in the troubles you havewith your kids, with your husband with your wife, with your boss, he'swith you and your sickness and those of your lovelines, and hewill be with you still on your death bed and he who simply spoke and calmed a great storm, is fully able to hold you up anddeliver you when his waves and breakers sweep over you- and you see. If youcall this to mind, if you keep it in mind, it is, afterall, a frequently taught lesson in the Bible. I promise you in the Lord's name.You will far more often than is now the case have occasion to say with wonderand with exhilaration. Who, then, is this that even wind and sea obey him? Let's pray, I.

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