Pentecost 5 – Proper 7
June 24, 2018
“The perfect storm – a perfect peace”
Creatures in awe of Jesus' authority over the creation
When the woes of life o'ertake me,
hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
never shall the cross forsake me.
Lo! it glows with peace and joy.
“In the Cross of Christ I Glory”
Following a day. Full of teaching activity. Jesus and His disciples. Get into a boat. To sail. Across the Sea of Galilee.
A windstorm arose. Beating waves into the boat. Jesus was sleeping. But He was awakened by His disciples. Concerned for their lives. They feared a great fear.
Jesus rebuked the wind. And calmed the seas. He then reproached His disciples. For their fear. And lack of faith. Filled with great fear. His disciples expressed their awe of Jesus to each other.
This account of Jesus calming the storm is well-known. It’s popular in many children's Bible story books. It is the setting for the hymn, "Jesus Savior Pilot Me." What might we learn from this event in the life of Jesus?
I. WE ARE NOT EXEMPT FROM STORMS
A. WE FACE STORMS BECAUSE WE ARE HUMAN.
Situated in a basin. Surrounded by mountains. The Sea of Galilee was particularly susceptible to sudden, violent storms. Cool air. From the Mediterranean. Drew down through the narrow mountain passes. Clashed with the hot, humid air lying over the lake. The results. Were always terrific storms.
We live in a world where there are many storms. Both literal. And figurative.
Christians experience actual tornados. Hurricanes. Windstorms. Just like everyone else.
Christians likewise face storms such as sickness. Accidents. Disappointments. Death.
Paul certainly experienced the perils of storms and shipwrecks - “Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren.” - 2Corinthians 11:25-26
Jesus does not promise exemption from the normal storms of life. If you think Jesus is merely a good luck charm. - Stop thinking that way.
"God should fix my problems” some might say. Believing that Christ is some sort of genie. Which I depend on. To make sure. That life goes my way. You are not exempt from storms. Storms happen. Because we are living in a broken world. Outside of Eden.
B. WE FACE STORMS BECAUSE WE ARE CHRISTIANS.
Being Jesus' disciples did not protect them from storms.
Jesus warned that we will experience tribulation as His disciples. The Savior reminds us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33
Paul suffered for confessing the faith. And warned his fellow disciples; “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned.” - 2Corinthians 11:24-25
In Acts 14:22 we are reminded; “Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God."
Paul would remind young Timothy; “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Διωχθήσονται- 2Timothy 3:12 - Persecuted. Yes. But not forsaken. Cast down. Yup. But not destroyed. – 2 Corinthians 4:9
Peter wrote that we should not be surprised by this. “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trials you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” - 1Peter 4:12 – Jesus does not promise exemption from the storms of religious persecution.
So. If you find yourselves in the midst of storms. Whether literal or figurative. Whether it's because you are human. Or because we are Christian. Do not think it strange. Instead. Take heart. Knowing that Jesus is present. Even in the midst of the storm. And He has overcome them all.
II.JESUS HELPS US DEAL WITH STORMS
A. THROUGH FAITH.
During storms. We are often afraid. We can cry out. Like the disciples. Who said, "We are perishing!"
Jesus teaches that fear is indicative of a lack of faith. To overcome fear in storms. We need to grow in faith!
Faith that God will protect us. If it be His will. The Psalmist reminds us. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46:1-3
Faith trusts that God will deliver us. To His heavenly city. Even if we die. “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.” - Psalm 46:4-5 The psalmist reveals the role of faith. Even in the midst of storms.
B. THROUGH HIS WORD.
Jesus' words prepare us to withstand the storms of life. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” - Matthew 7:24-27.
Jesus teaches how to pray in order to be heard by God. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. - Matthew 6:5-8
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” - Matthew 6:19-20
“So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” - Matthew 6:31-34 Jesus shares the secrets to standing strong against the storms of life.
C. THROUGH PRAYER.
Jesus is always ready to give mercy and grace to help in time of need; “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” -Hebrews 4:14-16
In anxious times, God offers peace to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus through prayer. Jesus stands ready to calm our hearts and minds when facing storms.
D. THROUGH HIS SACRIFICE.
The greatest "storm" all of us will face will be the Day of Judgment, Peter reminds us, and “By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” - 2Peter 3:7
A day in which we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due to him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” - 2Corinthians 5:10
But Christ shed His blood to spare us on that Day. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” - Romans 5:6-10
By believing the gospel, we can have our names added to the Lamb's book of life and escape condemnation for our sins; “Jesus said to them, Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. - cf. Mark 16:15-16 Jesus stands ready to save us and protect us from the "perfect storm" to come.
Everyone will face one or more storms in his or her life. Whether literally or symbolically. Storms will come. Whether atheist or believer. You are not exempt.
How shall we react when the time comes?
Shall we cry out like the disciples who were weak in faith saying, "we are perishing!"? Or shall we weather the storms with confident faith and calm repose?
And how shall we stand on when the final storm comes. The "perfect storm." That is. The Day of Judgment?
Shall we hear Jesus say, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world"? Matthew 25:34
Or will we hear Him say, "Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels"? - Matthew 25:41
When Jesus rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea, "Peace, be still", the wind ceased and there was a great calm. The disciples, with fear and amazement, said: "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?"
The wind and the sea obeyed Jesus. Shall we not also trust Him? Who now has all authority in heaven and on earth? - Matthew 28:18
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for personal and congregational use.
Passive Sentences –3%
Readability – 84.7%
Reading Level – 3.8