Mark 4:35-41 Jesus is Lord over the Storms! Pentecost 5 June 28, 2015 Ch: “storm” in the jar
By Pastor Kenneth Mellon, Trinity Lutheran Church and School, Pleasant Valley Rd., West Bend, WI
Grace and peace to calm our troubled hearts are yours from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior.
God’s Word of power showing Jesus as the Lord of all is written in Mark 4:35-41
These words are from God our heavenly Father to help us to grow in our faith. Your Word is truth! Amen.
Dear Christians, trusting in Christ for life,
It’s one thing view dangerous thunderstorm while you are safe and dry in a house. It’s another thing be out in an open field or on a lake when a storm strikes. The storm may be the same, but how it affects us is completely different. There are other “storms” in life for us, like the ruling of the US Supreme Court on marriage, which I believe will open the gate to all kinds of immorality and perversion in our nation. It may not affect us now, but the storm is building and it will in time. Have you ever asked, Why doesn’t Jesus end the evil and harmful things which seem to be surrounding us? As God told Job in chapter 38, we are not in a position to judge His ways. He is the creator of all that is good and He will act to stop evil in His own time. Yet, right now we can be confident in Him because
Jesus is Lord over the Storms!
First, we need reminding that God has a purpose in allowing storms. The disciples had not planned to go across the Sea of Galilee that night. After a busy day of teaching parables, Jesus said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” (v.35) Once Jesus was in the boat He instantly fell asleep. Mark reports, “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.” (v.37) The wind was howling. The strength of the waves crashed against the boat making the experienced fishermen who were disciples feel helpless in the storm. They probably tried to row to shore. But it wasn’t enough.
They desperately looked to Jesus. They “woke Him and said, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’”(v.38) They didn’t understand how Jesus could sleep through the storm. Why didn’t He get up and help them out of their danger? They didn’t understand that Jesus had sent them into the storm not to harm them but to help them. He wanted to impress on them that in the worst of situations or in darkest times, His power would shine all the more! That would not have happened without the storm. Earlier, they saw Jesus miraculously feed people, forgive them, and heal many. Now they would to learn about His power to protect them.
What do we do as Christians when storms of life really threaten us? Is our faith always ready when we face known or uncertain difficulties? It’s fruitless to be angry at God or to ask like the disciples of Jesus if He cared for them, when later He was willing to die for them. We live in a world where people and nature are affected by sin. We have seen the fruit of that sin at all too clearly in the Supreme Court ruling and in other natural and moral disasters. Jesus tells us that these will continue until He returns. Accidents, illness, and distress will also bring pain and heartache as long as we live. Why does Jesus allow problems to be like a storm to touch our lives? He uses them as opportunities to teach us to trust His power to save so that we grow in our faith and, in the end, receive eternal life!
Second, Jesus will help us through our storms. What were the disciples hoping that Jesus would do when they woke from His sleep? Did they want Him to help row? Did they hope that He would call on God to slow the storm enough so the boat wouldn’t sink? We don’t know what solution they were looking for; we just know that they expressed their plea that He would save them from the storm.
Jesus did more than what they could have imagined. “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. (v.39) It was almost as if they were in a movie set where machines are creating wind and pouring rain. And then, the power goes off. Imagine the howling wind and crashing waves at one moment and then the power of nature is so tamed so that the movement of the boat in the water was the only sound on the glassy-smooth sea. Jesus’ command was obeyed by wind and waves instantaneously. What was the disciples’ reaction? “They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’”(v.41) Their fear was now one of awe at the power of Jesus. Their awareness of who Jesus was had vastly grown along with their faith.
Earlier in our reading of Job, it stated that God sets the boundaries for water on the shores. (38:11) It states in Psalm 89, “O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty…. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, You still them.” (Psalm 89:8-9) In Psalm 107 it describes men in peril on the sea who called out to the Lord. Then it says, “He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.” (Psalm 107:29) Only God can do such miracles over nature. But, Jesus didn’t pray to God to stop the storm. He spoke as the Son of God. Jesus, as God and man, is Lord over the storms.
In giving us this lesson, Jesus wants us to be in awe of His power. We can’t fully understand it. But, this we know: However great our problem, Jesus is greater! We are His disciples today. He is teaching us through His holy Word to understand His power to save despite our circumstances. When “storms of life” happen to us, God uses them to remind us that our strength isn’t enough, our faith isn’t always as strong as it should be, and we cannot be in control our own lives, yet alone in control of the world around us! And, God’s Word goes beyond telling us of Jesus’ physical help. His power to forgive our sins is more amazing. As sinners, we too often part of the storm against God’s ways. Yet, with His Word, Jesus tells us: “Peace. Be still!” Jesus went through the worst storm of any person by His suffering God’s judgment for sin while He was on the cross. Because of His death and resurrection, our worst storm death will become a entrance to full life. The Bible promises, “The wages of sin is death, but gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Jesus has won our forgiveness and given us victory for life.
Jesus stilled a powerful storm while He was living a humble life on earth. Think of what He does for us now that He is ruling over heaven and earth as our Savior! Yet, we can’t always see His working for our good. We must take His promises by faith just like the disciples. That is not easy. That’s why Jesus said after the miracle, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (v. 40)
If our faith is to grow, we need to keep applying God’s Word to our lives. We all have spiritual weaknesses. We may have a strong faith about going to heaven by grace through faith in Jesus alone. But, we may have a weak faith when God tells our hearts to be still and we are not at peace. We need Christ’s Word to still the storms without and the storms within! We don’t need to see Jesus physically like the disciples. We have His promise that He is with us no matter where we are. Jesus allows storms of life to remind us that we need Him! And He graciously offers us help with His power so that we trust in Him.
We are such a contrast to Christ’s life: our lack of faith causes us to have sleepless nights, while Christ’s perfect faith in His Father allowed Him to sleep through the worst storm. We don’t always trust God as we should through the storms of life, but God credits Christ’s perfect trust to us as we trust in Him. Difficult “storms” in life try to convince us that Jesus either doesn’t care or isn’t in control. But, with Jesus as our shelter, we will be safe no matter how great the storms. Through them, Jesus shows us that He is in control and He is steering us on His course that will lead us to heaven, a place of perfect peace. He is Lord over the storms! Amen.