Luke: The calm in the storm-08/06/17

Sermon Series: ‘Encountering Jesus’

Message: ‘The calm in the storm’                     Text: Luke 8:22-25

Introduction: Is God there? And… does He really care about me?

  • Two questions that profoundly impact our lives.
  • Two questions that are at the root of what it means to be human.

If God isn’t there, if He doesn’t exist,

  • then my life, all of life, is a free-for-all. And we’re on our own to make the best of it.

If God is there, but He really doesn’t care about me,

  • then we have no reason to look to Him when things get bigger than we can handle.

But, if God is there, AND, He truly does care for me, for us,

  • then finding Him and responding to Him, is our greatest need in life.

Perhaps, at no other time, is this more important to our well-being, than when we face life storms.

  • No, I’m not talking about storms like Sandy or our frequent nor’easters.
  • I’m talking about the storms of broken relationships, grave illness, financial loss, mental illness, even when our most cherished dreams, fail to be realized.

The thing about life’s storms is that like the physical ones, they often can’t be predicted with any real sense of accuracy.

  • Everything’s moving along fairly well, calm even.
  • Then, all of a sudden, out of what seems like nowhere, we find ourselves in a battle for our very lives, in a storm that threatens to undo us.

What we do when the storm first comes upon us will often dictate our success in getting through the storm.

In our text this morning, Dr. Luke tells us about a time when Jesus’ disciples faced a storm at sea that frightened even the most experienced fishermen in the boat.

Transition: Open your Bibles to Luke 8:22. For it’s there we’ll find that Jesus, is the calm in life’s storms.

  1. Luke 8:22-23 The raging storm

Read: Luke 8:22-23

Once again, we find one of the favorite stories in the Gospels, one that every Sunday School teacher has told to their students.

  • Jesus calming the raging storm for the frightened disciples.

And, almost always when this story is taught, the focus is the disciples lack of faith.  But, there’s more to this story that Dr. Luke wants us to see and understand.

Luke begins verse 22 with One day… In Mark 4:1-3 we read: … He (Jesus) began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. And he was teaching them many things in parables…

Putting Mark and Luke together we find this is the same day Jesus taught the crowds the parable of the sower… But Mark includes a few more parables that Luke doesn’t. That means it was a very long day of teaching for Jesus.

So Jesus, says Hey guys, I’m tired, I’m done for the night. Let’s get in the boat and sail to the other side of the lake. So they obeyed Jesus and took off for the overnight sail.

Let me ask.

  • Have you ever thought about Jesus being tired? That He needed to rest?
  • Is that a problem for your theology of the divinity of Christ?

W/o boring you with the history behind it, in 451 the church’s brightest scholars gathered to clear up the issue of the nature of Jesus. After their exhaustive study of God’s Word, this is what they  declared:

  • Jesus had a dual nature: He was both fully human and fully divine.

Now, over the centuries many, both outside and inside the church, have erred, by elevating one of His natures at the expense of the other. Or by denying that Jesus had two natures; instead teaching that He was only human or only divine.

Why the lesson on Christology? Because it’s seen here in our text:

  • In verse 23 we see that Jesus fell asleep in the boat as it sailed to the other side of the lake.
  • Jesus was very tired from a long day full of teaching a very large crowd.

Folks, we can see from this text that Jesus was human. He got tired, He needed to sleep.

And in verse 25 we’ll see His other nature, in utter clarity. But more on that…soon!

So, Jesus is asleep in the boat as it sails to the other side of the lake… everything’s going well. Until… out of nowhere, a storm comes up.

  • It was such a strong storm that water from the swells, began to crash over the sides of the boat. Filling the boat with water.

For those old enough to remember, this was a ‘Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’ kind of storm. (Gordon Lightfoot, 1976)

How bad was it? Luke reports that they were in danger. Remember, Luke got his information directly from the sources.

  • He talked to the disciples.
  • And he found that these seasoned fishermen, were afraid, they thought they were in danger of sinking, of losing their lives.

There’s chaos on the boat. The disciples are beside themselves. The boat that Jesus and His disciples are in, is bobbing up and down like a cork in a bucket of water that is being shaken.

  • And Jesus, is fast asleep.
  1. Luke 8:24-25a Jesus calms the raging storm

Read: Luke 8:24-25a

Have you ever been so scared that you weren’t sure what to do?

ILL: Bob Diffenbaugh tells the following story After many years of marriage and a number of tense moments, our friends, Don and Maggie, had come to an agreement: Maggie would not interrupt Don’s concentration when he was in the middle of a project. They agreed that when she wanted to ask him something, she would wait until he had finished what he was doing.

The arrangement had worked pretty well over the years, until a particular day. Don was working on a project in the garage. Maggie, well acquainted with their arrangement, walked out to the garage and stood silently by, waiting for the signal that he was ready to be interrupted. When he looked up, she calmly reported, “The house is on fire.”

  • I can imagine Jesus’ disciples felt a bit like Maggie.
  • ‘Peter, do we wake up the Master or not?’

When they began to fear for their lives, the answer was a resounding ‘YES! Wake Him up.’ And they did.

When they woke Jesus up they said; Master, Master, we are perishing! (In other words, Jesus, we’re going to die.) In Marks Gospel we find this addition: Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? (Mark 34:38)

So here’s the big question, one, if we’re honest, we’ve asked Jesus ourselves, multiple times, when in the midst of a raging storm:

  • Jesus, I don’t understand your silence, Your delay. Don’t You care that my world is falling apart?

Christian, when we ask those questions of Jesus, we’re no different that the disciples in the boat:

  • Our faith in Jesus is being tested.
  • And we’re failing the test.

The text doesn’t say but I think we can assume the disciples did everything they could as seasoned fishermen, to be safe in the midst of that raging storm:

  • They took down the sail.
  • They threw anything not needed overboard.
  • They started to bail out the water that was filling the boat.

But it wasn’t enough. The storm was too great.

Look, let’s be honest, if we were in that boat, we would’ve done the very same thing. And in one way they were absolutely right in waking Jesus up and asking for His help.

  • They knew they were in over their heads, almost literally if the boat had gone under.
  • And when the storms of life come, and they will, we must go to Jesus to calm the storm that rages all around us… even in us.

But, understand something. They woke Jesus up because what they were doing wasn’t helping. Their faith was in themselves, in their ability as fishermen. And when that didn’t work they got scared. They were being driven by fear… rather than by true faith. Let me explain.

Jesus wakes up and immediately calms the storm:

  • The deluge of rain stopped immediately.
  • The gale force winds were immediately hushed.
  • The force of the waves crashing over the sides of the boat, was immediately transformed into a peaceful snuggle with the bottom of the boat.

Then Jesus said to His disciples

  • Where is your faith?

Remember, they had seen Jesus do many miracles: He healed the sick, He delivered people from demon possession, He changed water into wine, He even raised the dead.

But it just wasn’t enough. This time is was they who needed a miracle and they doubted Jesus really cared for them.

  • There’s a line in the song ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’ that goes like this: Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?

The disciple were afraid and they doubted Jesus’ love and concern for them. I don’t think they expected Jesus to ask them Where is your faith?  In other words, Jesus was asking them:

  • Why didn’t you trust Me?
  • Why didn’t you believe in Me?
  • After all you’ve heard Me say and all you’ve seen Me do, why were you afraid, where were you placing your faith?

Look, Jesus still asks us the same question Where is your faith? And we should not easily dismiss that question glibly with the answer… Jesus, my faith is in Jesus.

Because most cults believe in Jesus, place their faith in Jesus… But what Jesus? Certainly not the Jesus of the Bible.

So Where is your faith is a very legitimate question.  But so is another question: Does that matter?

  • Read excerpts from ‘Does it Really Matter What I Believe?’

Where is your faith? Is it clearly and soundly in the Jesus of the Bible? The Jesus who is both fully human and fully divine?

Dr. Luke wants us to see and understand the vital importance faith in the Biblical Jesus, has in the life of His followers.

He also wants us to know why we can have absolute faith in Jesus, in the storms of life.

III. Luke 8:25b  Jesus is sovereign over nature

Read: Luke 8:25b

What a boat ride that must have been. Think about it from a teaching perspective:

  • In a relatively short time, the disciples saw both the full humanity of Jesus, as well as, the fullness of His deity.

Jesus is Lord, Jesus is God, Jesus is sovereign.

  • In Luke 8:22-23 we are presented with Jesus’ humanity.
  • In verses 24-25 we are presented with Jesus’ divinity.

And perhaps nowhere is Jesus’ divinity more clearly expressed than in verse 25b Who then is this, that He commands even winds and water, and they obey Him?

You see, I don’t think the main point of this story is the disciple’s lack of faith. I think it was that their faith in Jesus wasn’t complete, they had yet to understand that Jesus is divine and in His divinity, He’s sovereign.

  • Sovereign means having absolute authority
  • over all things.

Everything Jesus does, especially from chapter 8 on, is to teach His disciples about who He is and why He came.

  • Here’ Jesus is Lord, sovereign, over nature.
  • Next Sunday, Jesus will show His disciples that He’s Lord, sovereign, over the spiritual realm, over sickness, even over death itself.

Luke records these events together so that the case for Jesus’ divinity, His divine nature, will be made and caught by Jesus’ disciples.

  • So that in Luke 9 when Jesus asks them who do you say that I am?
  • Peter can reply: The Christ of God.

Conclusion: OK, what’s our takeaway this morning?

First, when you’re in a storm, even though you may not think that Jesus is there or that He cares, know that He is and that He does. Even when silent, He’s in complete control, not only over your life but over the storm.

Second, know that life’s storms are often meant to develop your character, to lead you further on your journey of faith and to reveal in a more clear way, who Jesus is.

Third, trust that the safest place in life is to be walking in the will of God. Jesus told the disciples to go across to the other side of the lake. They obeyed. And Jesus was going to get them to the other side of the lake, even if they needed to go through a raging sea to set there.

Fourth, when we try to navigate the storms of life alone, w/o Jesus, we resign ourselves to defeat. That’s why Jesus disciples said we are perishing.

Fifth, as we read that Jesus was asleep in the boat while the storm raged, be reminded that there is nothing that causes Jesus concern, nothing that ruffles His feathers, nothing that makes Him worry, nothing that catches Him by surprise. Why? Because He’s sovereign.

ILL: Corrie Ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place and survivor of the German concentration camps, said that people often came up to her and said, “Corrie, my, what a great faith you have.” She would smile and respond, “No, it’s what a great God I have.” (Steven J. Cole)

 Jesus is the calm in your raging storm, because He has absolute authority over all things.

He is your Sovereign Lord. He is a great God!

Corrie Ten Boom knew that. How about you?